Skip to main content

Full text of "Official Xbox Magazine Issue 97"

See other formats


FINAL FANTASY XIII BLOWOUT • PLUS.SQUARE'S NEW MYSTERY GAME - EXPOSED! 



r 




v_ 



OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAi 






YOU'LL 



: I =4'i ^ : 



BUNGIE REVEALS HALO 3'S 
DELETED CHAPTER AND MORE! 




■ j4 - 






ONLY IN OXM! 



• 




?!P 



,\V:M\ 



THE FACE-HUGGING FIRST LOOK AT XBOX 360'S TERRIFYING NEW SHOOTER! 



WORLD EXCLUSIVE! 









$12 .99CANADA 



tTTr«>Ti^irPii^Tk 



HANDS-ON WITH MULTIPLAYER & CO-OP! 
NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN LEVELS! 




o lll 70989 ll 38757 IM 7 



6> 



Oxeox CONTENTS 



JUNE 2009 

ISSUE #97 



DEPARTMENTS 


On the Disc 


04 


We Heart Xbox 


08 


Message Center 


12 


XBOX NEXT 


Battlefield 1943 


26 


Battlefield: Bad Company 2 


26 


Black College Football Xperience 


38 


Diner Dash 


39 


Fight Night Round 4 


40 


Final Fantasy XIII 


20 


Ghostbusters: The Video Game 


32 


Mafia II 


28 


Military Madness 


39 


Mini Ninjas 


38 


The Saboteur 


30 


FEATURES 


BioShock2 


46 


Loud, Dumb, and Out of Control 


52 


Aliens vs. Predator 


58 


Coin Opps 


66 


XBOX NOW 


Boggle 


75 


Crystal Defenders 


79 


Fallout 3: The Pitt 


79 


FIFA 09: Ultimate Team 


79 


Guitar Hero: Metallica 


74 



NCAA Basketball 09: March Madness Ed. 79 

Ninja Blade 77 

Sorry Sliders 75 

Stormrise 80 

Tomb Raider: Underworld — 

Lara's Shadow 79 

Uno Rush 76 

Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures: 

Fright of the Bumblebees 78 





The Halo You Never Knew 


82 


The 10 Most Influential 




People in Xbox Gaming 


84 


Gaming on the Cheap 


86 


Inbox 


90 


The Ultimate Street Fighter IV Giveaway 


92 


LiveSpace 


93 


Hard Stuff 


94 




PUBLISHER'S STATEMENT: 

Official Xbox Magazine (ISSN 1534-7850) is published 13 times a year, monthly plus Holiday issue following December issue, by Future US, Inc., 4000 
Shoreline Court, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080. Periodicals Postage Paid at South San Francisco, CA, and at additional mailing offices. 
Newsstand distribution is handled by Time Warner Retail. Subscriptions: One-year basic rate (12 issues + 12 game discs): U.S. — $39.95; Canada — 
$49.95; Foreign — $69.95. Canadian and foreign orders must be pre-paid, U.S. funds only. Canadian price includes postage and GST (GST# R128220688). 
Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement #40043631. Returns: Bleuchip International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. POSTMASTER: Send address 
changes to Official Xbox Magazine, P.O. Box 5156, Harlan, IA 51593-0656. Printed in the United States. Ride-Along Enclosure in the following edition(s): Bi, 
Ci, C2, C3, C4, C5. Standard Mail Enclosure in the following edition(s): None. 



02 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



TELL US: What would you like to see in the Aliens vs. Predator game — i.e., what themes, places, 
characters, and such from the films, comics, or elsewhere? Email letters@officialxboxmagazine.com. 



©xeox DISC 



PLAY, WATCH, AND EXPLORE 
WITH THE OXM DISC! 




Developer: Treyarch Publisher: Activision ESRB: Mature 

Still not sure about Call of Duty's World War 
reunion? Try it here! 

CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK: 
ASSAULT ON DARK ATHENA 

Developer: Starbreeze Publisher: Atari ESRB: Mature 

Vin Diesel makes his triumphant return as 
Riddick, and this demo lets you taste /Arena's 
all-new campaign! 



MLB2K9 

Developer: Visual Concepts Pub: 2K Games ESRB: Everyone 

Easy-to-learn, easy-to-play baseball goodness 



mux jm uztA'j) 



RACE PRO 



Developer: Sim Bin Publisher: Atari ESRB: Everyone 

Love racing sims, but wish they were a little more 
tweak-happy? This one's foryou! 



RED FACTION: GUERRILLA 

Developer: Volition Publisher: THQ ESRB: Mature 

Destructible environments ahoy! Revisit the 
Red Faction universe in explosive style! 

WANTED: WEAPONS OF FATE 

Developer: GRIN Publisher: WB Games ESRB: Mature 

Ever wanted to curve bullets? Go for it in this 
sequel to the ultraviolent movie! 



WHEELMAN 

Dev: Midway Newcastle Pub: Midway/Ubisoft ESRB: Teen 

Want even more Vin Diesel? You got it, complete 
with crazy behind-the-wheel action! 



LIVE ARCADE DEMOS 



THE DISHWASHER: 
DEAD SAMURAI 



Developer: Ska Studios Publisher: Microsoft ESRB: Mature 



Miss the days of ultra-hard sidescrolling hack- 
and-slashers? This one drips with style! 



BUT WAIT, 

THERE'S 

MORE! 

* GAZE IN AWE AT THE MASS EFFECT 2 
TEASER TRAILER! 

* FOLLOWVIRGIL INTO THE 
UNDERWORLD WITH DANTE'S 
INFERNO ARTWORK AND VIDEOS! 




04 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



PREMIUM THEMES: Last issue we ran a premium dashboard theme for Lost Planet. Is this 
something you'd like to see more of? Give us a shout at letters@officialxboxmagazine.com. 



Qxeox 



WE 'XBOX 



EVERY MONTH WE BRING YOU A SNAPSHOT 
OF ALL THE THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT BEING 
GAMERS IN AN XBOX 360 WORLD 



OH, YOU TEASE 




08 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



BACK THEN: If in fact we're talking about, uh, that game that rhymes with "Stunt Kitchen," then 
here's a little history: The original came out for the Super Famicom (i.e., Japanese SNES) in 1995. 



AND FAST-FORWARD TO NOW...: Most recently, the series saw an entry for the Nintendo DS 
just a stone's throw ago, back in 2007. 



Qxeox 



MESSAGE 
CENTER 






SEE NO EVIL 



I started to read your "Voices of Gaming" story (April 2009 OXM), but as soon 
as I realized it contained an interview with a voice actor, I quickly closed the 
magazine. I've made it a point to never look up a voice actor. Whenever I hear a 
voice and associate it with a character's face — in a videogame, animated movie, 
whatever — and then I see who's actually doing the voice, it ruins the character 
for me. So, I have not and will not read that article. I'm not complaining about you 
printing it, but I'm glad that I didn't start mindlessly looking at the pictures before I 
realized what it was about. 



We say: That's understandable but also a shame; surely these actors deserve some 
real-world recognition for their work in virtual ones? It doesn't seem fair to ignore 
their contributions as people simply because you want to preserve the integrity of 
the characters they play. However, a bigger problem with that article was pointed 
out by reader Daniel Cross: We talked about Dante from the Devil May Cry series, but 
showed a picture of Nero. So maybe you were better off looking away — you avoided 
having to endure an embarrassing mistake. 



YOU ASK IN EARNESTNESS, WE 
ANSWER WITH MINIMAL SNARK 



THE BITTER END 

Every time I read my new issue of OXM, I 
notice how low your scores are compared 
to those in other magazines. How much 
hands-on time do you guys spend with a 
game before giving your scores? 

— RJ Rude 

We say: All of it, actually. We look at it this 
way: If you're going to pay $60 for a game, 
you're interested enough to play it all the way 
to the end to get your money's worth, right? 
So we do the same thing. It's only on very 
rare occasions that a deadline forces us to 
make a call before we see the end credits. 
But everything from one-hour Live Arcade 
romps through those 20-hour-plus epics like 
Infinite Undiscovery? Yes, we finish them 
before assigning a final verdict, and we 
play multi player as well (usually with the 
game's developers). 




Infinite Undiscovery doesn't quite 
live up to its name, but it does offer a 
couple of dozen hours of gameplay, and 
we did finish it for our review. 

COMMANDING CONKER 

What a great idea, for Rare to bring 
Banjo-Kazooie to Live Arcade. Will their 
next move be a re-release of Conker's 
BadFurDayl 

— Colin Myers 



KOXM 



UE 



What's your 
favorite custom 
soundtrack for 
your favorite Xbox 
360 game? Email 
your five-song 
playlist, the game 
it goes with, 
yourGamertag, 
and a digital pic 
ofyourselfto 
letters@official 
xboxmagazine. 
com with the 
subject line 
"KOXM Play List." 




Gamertag: 
Slaughterminx 

Game: 
Left 4 Dead 

Playlist: 
No title 

LU "Gives You 
Hell" by AU- 
American Rejects 

LU "Hot N Cold" 
by Katy Perry 

LU "Supermassive 
Black Hole" 
by Muse 

H "End of the 
World" by Armor 
for Sleep 

LI] "Lake 
Pontchartrain" 
by Ludo 



,£, 



s? 



We say: We've gotten a few letters about 
Rare's rude rodent lately, and while 
nobody's confirming any plans to bring the 
foul-mouthed fuzzball toXBLA, it's worth 
noting that you can play Conker: Live and 
Reloaded on your 360, thanks to backward - 
compatibility. Live and Reloaded is the full 
N64 game updated for Xbox with online play. 
You can still find it for $25 new, and even 
less used. And there's always the chance 
that it'll return as a downloadable Xbox 
Original, but the rumors that went around to 
that effect early last year proved false, and 
we've seen no signs of life since. 




I 



MUSICIANS CAN ONLY 
COUNT TO FOUR ANYWAY 

I've always thought that Guitar Hero and 
Rock Band guitars need more buttons. 
How about giving them eight buttons, 
just like an octave on the musical scale? 
It'd work perfectly — they could almost 
identically match up notes to the buttons! 
What do you think? 

— Turk 

We say: When we get eight fingers on each 
hand, we're with you. Until then, you're nuts. 

BUT SOLID SNAKE LIKES THEM! 

Remember that Seinfeld episode where 
Elaine broke up with her boyfriend 
because he didn't use an exclamation 

point at the end of a sentence? I think 
the person who's in charge of your 
cover each month has a fetish 

^^S^S. for exclamation points. 
^ Your January 2009 cover 
has no less than 11 exclamation points, 
and your February 2009 cover tops it with 
12! Every word or sentence displayed on 
the cover ends with one. The number 
of exclamation points 
you put on a cover 
doesn't necessarily 
make it more exciting 
to read. ..but I'm 
sure Elaine would 
appreciate all 
the unnecessary 
punctuation. 
— FreakyFrequency 

continued on pg. 14 ►► 



HOT 

BUTTON 



LonewolfVIP 
asks, "Does 
installing 
games to your 
hard drive help 
eliminate the 
'red ring of 
death'?" 



Dan responds: 

"No, because the 
DVD drive isn't 



heat; it's actually 
absorbing it. 
The chips that 
generate the 



klQM' 



your Xbox 360 
are located 
directly under 
the DVD drive, so 
installing games 
to the hard drive 



MESSAGE CENTER 



©XBOX 



@ k'tt 

EMAIL FORUM XBOX LIVE MAIL 



& 





CHANGE COMES IN 
FITS AND STARTS, 
RIGHT? 



At March's Game Developers Conference, 
the public got its first look at OnLive, a 
gaming service billed by the mainstream 
consumer press as a "console killer." 
Basically, it's the digital delivery-ness of 
iTunes with the subscription model of an 
MMORPG. Gamers can use a little receiver 
that'll stream games online over a 
broadband connection onto theirTV (or PC 
or Mac) from one of OnLive's servers. 

A ton of details were purposely left 
vague and unspecified, but OnLive's 
debut has further solidified an emerging 
business trend. Just think: OnLive will 
eliminate the threat of piracy and the 
secondhand used-games market, while 
skipping any middleman retailer, resulting 
in more direct profits for publishers and 
developers. In other words, OnLive seems 
to take all the beneficial tenets of Netflix's 
Queue feature and 360's Live Arcade, and 
streams them for gamers. 

But is this really what's on the horizon 
of gaming? Was Silicon Knights' Denis 
Dyack right about the eventuality of a one- 
console future (OXM, December 2007)? 
Are we all tired enough of paying $60/ 
game to give up the ability to own physical 
copies of our purchases, even on just a 
hard drive? Even with all the top 
publishers on tap for the new system, will 
it be more geared at first to PC users? 

Until these questions are answered, 
the promise of this new delivery system is 
just hot air and speculation. All I know is 
that nothing's changing for a good long 
while — our 360s are still 100 percent 
relevant and will be for the 
foreseeable future. But for 
industry pundits, OnLive 
will be a must-watch. 



faj^ 



MISSION STATEMENT 



OXM is the most complete, entertaining, and dynamic 
information source for Xbox gamers. The magazine 
and disc are expressly created to enhance the passion 
for Xbox gaming shared by readers and editors alike. 
OXM publishes the best, most revealing stories; digs 
deepest for the most valuable insights; and is resolutely 
committed to providing Xbox gamers with the most 
reliable buying advice. We are Official Xbox Magazine, and 
we are officially dedicated to giving the Xbox community 
the best games magazine and disc that money can buy. 




Meet the Tea ITI THIS MONTH WE WELCOME OUR TEAMMATES FROM ACROSS THE POND INTO THE "MEET THE TEAM" SECTION. TRUTH IS, YOU'VE READ JON, MIKE, AND 



BEN'S WORDS BEFORE THIS ISSUE, BUT WE DIDN'T FEEL LIKE GIVING THEM FULL CREDIT. SO, WE SALUTE OUR UKRANIAN BRETHREN. THAT'S WHAT UK IS SHORT FOR, RIGHT? 




My favorite thing: 

Overall? Pretty much all the little things 
in Resident Evil 5, like the fact that you 
can listen to the "voice" of any character 
that you buy as a figurine — including the 
crocodile. Also, that you can repeatedly 
request eggs from your co-op buddy 
or call out to them urgently at a co-op 
checkpoint to drive them completely 
loony. So many reasons to (possibly 
ironically) love RE$\ 



rancesca Reyes 



My favorite thing: 
The top layer. Always the best. For 
example: Peanut butter and ice cream — 
the first spoonful is the creamy-smooth 
tastiest. Soap — first use guarantees a 
pure, unbefouled bar. Skin — if you're 
seeing any other layer, there's a problem. 
Topsoil — you can run your fingers 
through it. Paint — it's the visible layer 
that counts. Need I go on? 



Corey Cohen 



My favorite thing: 

The not-so-new ability to make 
Marketplace purchases from my PC. 
All the items for sale are pretty easy to 
browse (though Microsoft's Marketplace 
website definitely should be way better), 
but what I really dig is the ability to 
queue up my downloads from work. 

I Then, when I get home, I can flick on my 
360 and take care of some other biz, 
knowing that the downloading's getting 

I done. Plus, it's way easier to copy/paste 
a redemption code on the web — boo to 
thumb-typing from the controller! 



Paul Curthoys 



My favorite thing: 

I got a chance to horse around with the 
JamVox recently. It's a combination of 
a USB practice amp and some software 
that (with some patience and fiddling) 

I can muffle the guitar solos on your MP3S 
so you can play along instead. If you're 
looking to make the jump from Guitar 
Hero and Rock Band to the real deal, it's 

I not a bad option, especially considering 
it emulates several famous amp tones. 
And thanks to the headphone jack, your 
roommates will like it, too. 



Dan Amrich 



My favorite thing: 

My favorite time of year — springtime — 
is finally here! The rain is gone and 
baseball is back. In fact, our national 
pastime in HD is a glorious thing, as 
is the MLB Extra Innings package on 
DirecTV. Despite no longer living in 
Arizona, I can see every Diamondbacks 
game! Play ball! 



My favorite thing: 

Raindrops on roses and mittens on 
I kittens 

Bright copper choppers and leftover 

chitlins 

Passed out frat drunkies tied up with 
I strings 

These are a few of my favorite things 



My favorite thing: 

I couldn't decide this month between 
two of my favorite things, so I've 
compromised and combined the two in 
a mash-up of true glory. The other day, I 
was playing my brand-new 1972 Fender 
Telecaster Custom while hanging upside 
down at the top of the nearest climbing 
wall I've scaled with a 120-watt amp 
strapped to my back. Pictures and video 
to come shortly. 



My favorite thing: 

Passing through San Francisco to look 
at BioShock2, some other journos and 
I had a spare morning that we filled 
by Googling "best breakfast in San 
Francisco." Sitting outside in the sun 
with some excellent eggs watching 
everybody else wake up was the perfect 
start to the day, even with jetlag. 



Ryan McCaffrey 



Juliann Brov 




My favorite thing: 

My favorite thing in the last month was 
moving into my new flat. Most of my 
stuff is still in boxes, but I've got the 
priority items unpacked — 37-inch HDTV, 
360, and my comfy chair. I've got a roof 
terrace, but I haven't seen the sun in the 
last four weeks. Go figure. 



r 




ke Channel! 

IEWS EDITOR, UK 


Mi 



My favorite thing: 

It takes quite a lot to surprise me these 
days, but being pooped out of the tail 
of a giant salamander in Lost Planet 2 
would definitely count. We'd seen the 
twenty-storey behemoth in the launch 
trailer, but it was only when I played the 
game at Capcom that we realized you 
could get inside the belly of the beast 
and give it a bad case of indigestion. 
t This game is going to be sweet. 



Ben Talbot 



12 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



BROTHERS WITH ARMS: Fiero Pegasus noted some similarities between Tai from Gears of War 2 
and the mohawked/tattooed agent from Crackdown. Coincidence? Yes. 



RUNNETH OVER: Rumors say Ms. Croft may be less...pronounced next game. "If Lara goes down 
one cup size," says Jon Windcraft, "I swear I will never play Tomb Raider again!" 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 13 



ixeox 



MESSAGE CENTER 




MK vs. DC is fun 
but it's not the new 
franchise standard. 



We say: Thanks for writing in! We appreciate 
the constructive feedback! We'll work on 
that! And check out our next issue for a huge 
surprise! It's an exclusive! 

MUTIES GO HOME 

Surely I'm not the only one to notice 
the annoying change in the behavior of 
gamers on Live. It seems that ever since 
the release of the New Xbox Experience, 
there's been next to no chatter in games 
online. And even for a while before then, 
it's been decreasing. Is it because people 
are too busy talking to their friends in 
parties? Or because they're just too stupid 
to realize that you need to talk to your 
teammates if you want to win? 

I can understand if you're playing a 
squad battle or ground war when your 
team is massive, but in Left 4 Dead! Come 



Oh, the headset 
works fine. But the 
person wearing it? 
No guarantees. 




on, people: when you don't talk, your 
team suffers. The microphone comes 
free with your Xbox. If your friends are 
really that important, then just freaking 
play with them — don't ruin the game 
for your teammates. 

- UNDEADxTOFUxll7 

We say: You're right, but we suspect at least 
some of it is mere human error, not any sort 
of intentional refusal to work as a team. 
We've seen several instances of people 
getting confused between Party Chat and 
Game Chat. It's happened in our own office, 
though we're not naming names. [It was Dan, 
and it was during an OXM Versus session, 
where a reader had to teach him how to use it 
correctly. LOL — Ed.] It seems "Sorry, I was in 
party chat" is the new "Sorry, I didn't realize I 
was muted. " That's our excuse, anyway. 

BARKING MAD 

I heard a rumor saying they're going to 
make another Mortal Kombat. Is this true? 
And if so, please, for the love of god, tell 
me it's not another crossover! Don't get 
me wrong: I like the idea of beating the 
s*** out of Superman and Wonder Woman 
as Scorpion, but censoring the gore just 
isn't worth it. MK was never meant to be 
a Teen-rated game. And while I'm on the 
subject, when the f*** is Midway going 
to give up on the MKII gameplay? They've 
done it twice, and it's already getting old! 
— Patrick Kren 

We say: Patrick's letter — with the strong 
language about the M-rated game — was 
printed in pencil on theme paper, and he did 
not write the asterisks. Momma Kren, are you 
reading this? Meanwhile, continued on pg. 16 ►► 



CHART ATTACK 

WHAT WE'RE GETTING AT 

LETTERS@0FFICIALXB0XMAGAZINE.COM 

THAT ISN'T READER LETTERS: 




I I 11% Mail for someone named Jim 
Perkins Jr. 

I 20% RapidShare links that are actually 
viruses 

["""I 44% Press releases about things we 
don't cover 

[~"| 5% Community newsletters from 

Sony. Yeah, really! 

|~| 1% A Friendster invite from the 

one guy who hasn't gone to 
Facebookyet 

| % Unique business opportunities 
that we have to translate from 
Russian 



14 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



A REMINDER: We get a lot of mail about subscription questions, but you can actually find help 
for that on our website — just click on the Customer Service tab for details. 




MISSING 

AN ISSUE? 



For subscription, 
disc, or any other 
non-editorial 
inquiries, 
please visit our 
website at www. 
oxmonline.com. 
Check it out to 
learn about gift 
subscriptions 
and more! Also, 
we regularly 
update all of our 
demo-disc DVD 
sleeves for you 
to download and 
printout if you're 
a subscriber. 



Ed Boon confirmed on our own podcast 
that a new Mortal Kombatis in the works. 
Despite the financial problems of Midway, 
Ed and his team are focusing on the game 
and not the drama. As we understand it, 
this new version may or may not ship this 
year, it won't be a crossover, and it will once 
again be built on the Unreal engine, but 
beyond that, Ed Boon has jokingly called it 
"Mortal Kombatp: Attack of the Dogs. " We 
know he's kidding, but we're still curious. 

HEARTFELT TANKS 

Dear Humans. This is Tank. You 
probably know me from hit Xbox 360 
game Left 4 Dead. Well, Tank need to 
get something off chest. It make Tank 
sad that as soon as you see him, you 
start shooting at him. Tank not mindless 
killing machine. Sure, Tank enjoy 
smashing human skulls to paste. What 
12-foot-tall, 800-pound, horribly mutated 



creature wouldn't? But there is another 
side to Tank. Tank also enjoy stamp 
collecting, scrapbooking, and updating 
blog under pen name "Love Muffin." Tank 
took origami class once at adult-learning 
annex, but fingers too big, so Tank smash 
teacher. Got B-minus. 

So, when you see Tank on streets of 
city, instead of shooting, try asking Tank 
how day is going. You may find that you 
and Tank have more in common than you 
think. Of course, Tank will still smash 
you, but you will die having made new 
friend. And that make Tank happy. 

— Tank 

We say: OH GOD HE KNOWS WHERE WE 
WORK RUN FOR YOUR LIVES 



HAVE SOME QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS TO SHARE? CONTACT US! 



3±^ 



EMAIL 



FORUM 



to « 



Gamertag: [EDITOR'S J 40 
FIRST NAME1 OXIV 



XBOX LIVE 



SNAIL MAIL , 



16 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



Q 

XROX 



OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 

Issue 97 • June 2009 



LOAD 

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Francesca Reyes 

MANAGING EDITOR Corey Cohen 

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Paul Curthoys 

SENIOR EDITORS Dan Amrich, Ryan McCaffrey 

EDITORIAL INTERN Taylor Cocke 

EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS 

Mike Channell, Jonti Davies, Mitchell Dyer, Jon Hicks, 

Ryan King, James Silva, Ben Talbot 

RELOAD 

ART DIRECTOR Juliann Brown 

CONTRIBUTING GRAPHIC DESIGNER 

Christina Empedocles 

CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR Nate Van Dyke 

MASTER OF PUPPETS 

GENERAL MANAGER Kelley Corten 

kcorten@futureus.com 

REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR (Southwest) Isaac Ugay 

949-218-0981, iugay@futureus.com 

REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR (West) Rachel Campos 

650-438-8780, rcampos@futureus.com 

DIRECTOR, CORPORATE SALES & MARKETING Jim Schiekofer 

646-723-5410, jschiekofer@futureus.com 

CORPORATE SALES MANAGER (Midwest) Jodi Sosna 

212-217-1358, jsosna@futureus.com 

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Bill Kelchner 

ADVERTISING PRODUCT MANAGER Rhoda Bueno Ushijima 

650-238-2474, rushijima@futureus.com 

ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR Heidi Hapin 

650-238-2475, hhapin@futureus.com 

MARKETING MANAGER Andrea Recio-Ang 

arecio-ang@futureus.com 

ST. ANGER 

PRODUCTION DIRECTOR Richie Lesovoy 
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Lewis Lee 

KILL 'EM ALL 

NEWSSTAND DIRECTOR Bill Shewey 

GROUP BILLING AND RENEWAL MANAGER Mike Hill 

PRINT ORDER COORDINATOR Linh Chau-Ward 

...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL 

INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR Simon Wear 

INTERNATIONAL BRAND MANAGER Emma Parkinson 

emma.parkinson@futurenet.co.uk 

SUBSCRIPTION QUERIES: Please visit us on the web at 

www.officialxboxmagazine.com, email us at 

BOXcustserv@cdsfulfillment.com, or write to us at Official Xbox 

Magazine Customer Care, P.O. Box 5156, Harlan, IA 51593-0656. 

REPRINTS: For reprints, contact Reprint Management Services at 

717.399.1900 ext. 100. 

ISSN: 1534-7850 

© 2009 Future US, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole 
or in part without permission is prohibited. Microsoft, Xbox, and the 
Xbox logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United 
States and/or in other countries and are used under license from 
Microsoft. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of 
their respective holders. 



FUTURE US, INC. 

4000 Shoreline Court, 
Suite 400, South San 
Francisco, CA 94080 
w.futureus.com 



PRESIDENT Jonathan Simpson-Bint 

VICE PRESIDENT/CFO John Sutton 
GENERAL COUNSEL Charlotte Falla 

VP/PUBLISHING DIRECTOR FOR TECHNOLOGY, 

PREGNANCY & CYCLING Stacey Levy 

VP INTERNET DEVELOPMENT Tyson Daugherty 

PUBLISHING DIRECTOR/BIZ DEV Dave Barrow 

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/TECH & PREGNANCY Jon Phillips 

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, GAMES GROUP Stephen Pierce 

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/MUSIC Brad Tolinski 

HR DIRECTOR Nancy Durlester 

Future US, Inc. is part of Future pic. Future produces carefully 

targeted special-interest magazines, websites, and events for 

people who share a passion. We aim to satisfy that passion by 

creating titles offering value for money, reliable information, and 

smart buying advice, and that are a pleasure to read or visit. 

Today we publish more than 150 magazines, 65 websites, and a 

growing number of events in the U.S., UK, France, and Italy. Over 

100 international editions of our magazines are also published in 

30 other countries across the world. 

NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN Roger Parry 

CHIEF EXECUTIVE Stevie Spring 
GROUP FINANCE DIRECTOR John Bowman 
Tel +44 1225 442244 www.futureplc.com 






QX-BOX 

Final Fantasy XIII 

Are you ready to fight for your freedom? 



THIS MONTH'S ROUNDUP OF THE HOTTEST GAMES 
HEADED TO YOUR XBOX AND XBOX 360 




Quick kills are based around a launcher move stacked in your moves list, and you can activate 'em only when you've worn down an enemy 
enough that they flash red. As they do, select the launcher as your first attack and stack everything afterward. You'll uppercut them into the air 
and follow-up attacks will deal a larger amount of damage. However, larger enemies can't be lifted due to their weight, so you've got to come 
up with a different strategy. 








The bottom of the screen gives you all 
the stats you need. The Time Gauge 
runs along the top and may grow longer 
over the course of the game. Characters' 
health is displayed under their names on 
the right, while your selected warrior's 
move set runs down the left, letting you 
choose to fight, use black or white magic, 
or try special techniques. 



•••• • • • 

• ••• • • • 




••••• • • 




•••• • • • 




•••••••••• 



She has no name, but her face will 
be burned into your memory forever. 
White hair drapes over a worried, 
slightly fearful expression, and she 
awkwardly fumbles with the assault rifle in her 
hands. A simple gold band adorns her ring finger. 
Seventeen minutes from now, she will be dead, 
plunging to death off a destroyed bridge. And it'll 
be entirely your fault. 



Welcome to Final Fantasy XIII, the newest and 
most explosive entry in the long-runningJRPG 
series. We're sitting in developer Square Enix's 
Tokyo headquarters, having the world's first 
hands-on with the game: 20 glorious minutes of 
blockbuster cutscenes, frantically fast turn-based 
battles, and cooler-than-thou characters and 
monsters beating the entire spectrum of colors 
out of each other. 



rrrr 



©XBOX 

-nnnnnrn rm :nnao noDonncanDE 




S5> 



Most previous Final Fantasy games had 
invisible battle lines drawn, keeping both 
sides divided and grouped together. 
No more — the flow of battle means 
heroes and villains can intermingle as 
the battle progresses. It does mean you 
can get surrounded, so it's best to plan 
your moves as a party, rather than as 
individuals, to survive tougher conflicts. 



The developer outlines the story in broad 
strokes. You play a ragtag group of resistance 
fighters tackling an all-powerful governmental 
body. Things are not going in your favor. In 
this slice of gameplay, we're taking part in 
an unsuccessful rescue attempt of a train full 
of prisoners. Sudden and massive military 
intervention puts us at a huge disadvantage, and 
we're forced to draft those we were originally 
here to save...with fatal consequences. 

It's a familiar plot setup that's true to the 
series' heart: echoing the David-vs. -Goliath myth. 
Yet, even after 22 years, each new take feels 
surprisingly fresh. It's telling of the series' quality 
that even an unnamed casualty of war can tug at 
the heartstrings so harshly. 

Yes, it's a JRPG, but FFXIII is unlike the other 
genre entries the Xbox 360 has seen in the last 
few years. This is the real deal, the Muhammad 



Ali of the genre, and it's 
finally stepping back into the 
ring to show the pretenders 
the champ is back. And he's 
ready for a title fight. 

THE FINAL 
COUNTDOWN 

It has been in development 
for what seems like forever 
now (in actual fact, it's not 
even three years since the 
original E3 announcement). 
Not to mention the world is 
still reeling from the surprise reveal last year that 
the company had brokered a deal with Microsoft 
to release Final Fantasy XIII on Xbox 360 as well as 
PlayStation 3. 

There's a chance your familiarity with the Final 
Fantasy name extends only to Final Fantasy XI, the 
company's attempt at shifting the franchise into 
World ofWarcraft MMORPG territory. This isn't the 
best first impression, so let's take this moment to 
re-introduce you. 

If your conception of JRPGs and Square Enix 
comes from the likes of Enchanted Arms, The Last 
Remnant, or Infinite Undiscovery, banish them 
from your mind. Final Fantasy is to them what 
50 Cent is to Gears of War — what Legendary is 
to BioShock. There's a reason this is the premier 
JRPG series out there. It has the biggest budget, 
it's got the production values, it's got the lengthy 
development times. In Japan, only Mario arguably 
rivals the amount of tie-in merchandise and fan 
base of Final Fantasy. Simply put, this franchise is 
bigger, better, and bolder than anything else — on 
either side of the Pacific. 

Each game in the series starts afresh with a 
new world, new characters, and new storylines. 
Here it's not just one, but two worlds. Humanity 
has built a high-tech civilization on the moon 
planet of Cocoon, protected from the monster- 
filled world of Pulse that Cocoon orbits. The 
story follows a resistance group continued on Pg . 22 i» 



Final Connections 

THE BIG LANDMARKS 
OF THE SERIES 

FINAL FANTASY (1987) 

Creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's swansong 
before he planned to leave the company. 
Ended up selling millions. He stayed on. 

FINAL FANTASY IV (1991) 

Introduced the Active Time Battle System, a 
turn-based system that became the series 
standard for years to come. 

FINAL FANTASY VI (1994) 

To some, the best in the series. It introduced 
the theme of magic versus technology, as a 
small group fought an evil government. 

FINAL FANTASY VI I (1997) 

Square jumped ship from Nintendo to the 
Sony PlayStation and whipped up this 
three-disc masterpiece. FFVII brought the 
franchise to the mainstream, and even 
today, tie-ins are still being produced. 

FINAL FANTASY VIM (1998) 

Properly proportioned characters made 
their series debut, and FFVIII replaced 
traditional magic points with a Draw 
system, letting you steal enemies' magic to 
use against them. 

FINAL FANTASY X-2 (2002) 

Broke the mold by being the first direct 
sequel of a FF game — though it was more 
casual, less sprawling, and arguably more 
"girly" than its role-playing predecessor. 

FINAL FANTASY XI (2002) 

FF tried MMORPG and focused on real-time 
battles instead of turn-based systems. 

FINAL FANTASY XII (2006) 

The last FF entry on PS2 was the first to 
break the traditional restart of a world, 
using the world and races of Ivalice, first 
seen in offshoot Final Fantasy Tactics, a 
real-time strategy game. 



FANTASTICAL TRADITIONS final fantasy's version of dejAvu 



While each Final Fantasy deals with an entirely new world, Square Enix like to feature certain elements in each game. 



4 CHOCOBOS 
^ A large 
golden bird 
about the size 
1 of an ostrich 
that serves 
as war-steed, 
mini-game fodder, and 
ultra-cute companion; 
you've bred them, too. 



MOOGLES 

A smart race of winged, 

■£, cat-like creatures that 

have played the 

role of party 
' members, 
postmen, and 
shopkeepers. We 
haven't seen them in 
FFXIII just yet. 



-7T 



SUMMONS 

A variety of creatures 
that are elemental in 
nature (from fiery Ifrit 
to ice queen Shiva) 
and are used as 
mega-powerful special 
attacks for your party 
and some storyline- 
specific events. 



e's always a man 
led Cid in Final 
mtasy, embodying 
a gruff mentor/ 
inventor type, 



itherhasa 
meoorisa 
full member 

of the party. 



AIRSHIPS 

Get three-quarters through a Final 
Fantasy adventure, and you'll 
earn an airship, letting you >^ H 
fly easily to destinations ,- y ' ' 
that'd have you 



trekking for j 

days. j. 



MONSTERS 

Every FF has a similar 
bestiary with monsters 



upgraded to reflect 
a particular game's 
look and a few 
game-specific 
creatures, 
usually bosses. 



20 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



GEARS OF FINAL WAR FANTASY: Voice-actor buffs will recall that the voice of Gears' Marcus 
Fenix, John DiMaggio, also gave vocal life to Final Fantasy X's island-lovin', blitzball-playin' Wakka. 



AND A FEW MORE FOR GOOD MEASURE: A few other staples of the Final Fantasy series are 
the deadly Tonberry enemy, as well as familiar stock "foes" Marlboro and Cactuar. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 21 



- 1 -n -nro LiJUJLJJLJLX inDaai 





i i i .1 



I I I ii mnnnnnnn m-n nnnnnrr 




ixeox 



called Nora, which is trying to stop Cocoon's 
government from extraditing its opposing 
populace to exile and certain death on Pulse. 

Of course, that plotline will be wrenched open 
to uncover a multitude of smaller storylines and 
massive twists as the 40-hour-plus adventure 
unravels. The beauty is Final Fantasy's balance 
between almost-operatic world-changing/world- 
ending events and the soap opera of intergroup 



0ur20-minute demo 
recounts a rescue 
attempt aboard a 
high-speed train from 
two perspectives. The opening FMV sequence 
alone packs so much eye candy that you'd think 
it was raining pinatas: a standard military check 
of the prisoners onboard whips into a fantastic 
fight-fest as PSCICOM discovers the rebel (and 
one of the game's central characters) Lightning 
and her partner Sazh Katzroy hiding among 
them. This bit, and the subsequent explosion 
that sends train carriages tumbling onto separate 



parts of a multi-layered track system, sets up the 
two-pronged escape/defense sequence. 

The first has Lightning and Sazh escaping the 
wreckage with a massive mechanical monster 
n hot pursuit, working their way through wave 
after wave of patrols. Halfway through, the scene 
shifts to a group of resistance fighters led by the 
bandanna-wearing Snow leading the charge from 
hastily built barriers to a group of civilians — one 
of whom, with a shock of white hair, stands out 
from the crowd. 

Graphicswise, the game is bested only by 
Gears of War 2, and the differences between FMV 
and in-game models are negligible, which makes 
Square's attention to facial animations all the 
more astounding. The voice-acting in our demo 
was Japanese, but we understood much of what 
was happening by characters' mood and thoughts, 
read easily from just looking at their faces. 




As in all Final Fantasy games, there's a divide 
between the field screen, where you can control 
your character with the left stick and progress 
through towns and explore dungeons, and the 
battle screen, which appears once you encounter 
an enemy. In the latter, your characters are static 
and are moved like an interactive chess game. 

Admittedly, the former was fairly linear, with 
both Lightning and Snow charging along narrow 
walkways to their destination, but Square Enix 
have confirmed that other areas will be more 
exploration-based. But our demo was more about 
showcasing the fighting system, which is a huge 
factor in making or breaking JRPGs. 

FIGHTING FOR THE FUTURE 

FFXIII puts a twist on the series' Active Time 
Battle System. This time around, it's a real-time 
system, letting characters move once a Time 
Gauge (which is partitioned into three segments) 
is a third full. Every attack from a drop-down 
menu has a number next to it, designating how 
many segments it'll take. Obviously, the more 
powerful attacks take more time, so you could 
stack three normal psychic attacks or one big 
magic attack. 

Characters can attack simultaneously, 
meaning a three-hit combo can be canceled 
with a stronger attack from the opposition, so 
to execute successful attacks you need to learn 
your enemies' attack patterns. Because there 
are no set battle lines, characters intermingle as 
the finishing animations of the various attacks 
see fit. With larger magic attacks having a wide 
dispersal, you have to keep an eye out for when 
opponents group together — though this works 
for your enemies as well. 

The crazy thing is just how fast it all moves. 
The Time Gauge charges in around 10 seconds, 
and letting attacks chain together keeps the 
flow of battle moving at a rapid pace. There's no 
waiting around here, and to the casual viewer, it's 
chaotic and confusing; to the player, it's chess 
with the finger firmly on the fast-forward button. 

We survive the mechanical destroyer, 
make good our escape, but also lose most of 
the civilians we were protecting as the bridge 
explodes under artillery fire, watching helplessly 
as our charges plunge to their deaths. We 
watch the ending cinematic, which leaves more 
questions than answers, and without hesitation, 
we tap Start the moment the title screen fades 
back into view. 




► Just think of our friend Snow here as the 
"punch first, ask questions later" type. 




- Now sporting a hoodie from the future. 



Repeated plays let 
us dig deeper into the 
battle system, although 
Square Enix is keeping 
a lot sectioned off from 
this gameplay slice. 
Whether the chaotic 
nature of the battle is 
balanced by a quick-paced 
but ultimately strategic 
turn-based system is the 
decisive factor in keeping 
Final Fantasy at the 
forefront of the genre. 
We're already sold on 
the characters, setting, 
and music. We trust in 
Square Enix when it tells 
us that it's still working 
on the system until 
it's perfect. We can wait, 
though. After all, we've 
been waiting this long for 
real Final Fantasy entry 
on Xbox. And really, what' 
one more year? 

— Gillen McAII 




It's All About 
Character 




- 


LIGHTNING 

Your main girl and 
a kick-ass fighter, 
she used to be in the 
army. Cold, aloof and 
not afraid to punch 
someone if they get 
in her way. 






■Jtk 


SNOW 

Nicknamed 
Mr. 33cm, this man's 
got big boots and 
prefers using his 
fists as weapons. 






1 •' t^^^y\ 

1 


OERBA 

Amazingly dodging 
the "annoyingly 
childish sidekick" 
tag, she seems to 
be central to the 
mysteries of the 
two worlds. 






1 I* .*,Am ' 


RESISTANCE 
FIGHTERS 

The three have no 
names just as yet, 
and arguably they 
might be sidelined to 
support characters 
for most of the game. 






1 & 


\ ^ 


PSCICOM 

The military branch 
of the government, 
its specially trained 
soldiers use man- 
made portals to 
summon monsters, 
increasing their 
lethal rating 


IT 




LI 




1 






The comedic relief of the pack. Despite 
packing twin pistols, he has a Chocobo 
living in his afro. 






► Sazh hides Chocobos in his hair and 
comforts small children! What a stud! 



► A brand-new tweak on the classic ATB 
system gives us something new to master. 



► Just familiar enough to be accessible; just 
new enough to entrance us all over again. 



► Any Final Fantasy game worth its salt can 
do gorgeous cutscenes in its sleep. 



► We can't wait to see all the new enemies 
and summons that await! 



► Simply dazzling graphics give us a clue as 
to why FFXIII is taking its sweet time. 



22 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



WHO DO YOU LOVE?: If we were to listen solely to the internet, then FFIII (FFXI in Japan) and FFVII 
are the best in the series. What do you think? Holla at letters@officialxboxmagazine.com. 



NOT THAT WE'RE COUNTING: Aside from the 12 games in the main series, Final Fantasy has 
more than 15 spin-offs, including FF Tactics, the Chocobo series, and Crystal Chronicles. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 23 



0xeox 

]GpEGC 




I I I II II I ■ I I I i=l I I ■ ■ II I' ! I I HDGDaCOZElODDDHDIZDDDri-M-D 



H Battlefield in 2009 # O ^ >§) 



One-two punch looks to keep you busy online and off- 




► EF2: Being chased by ATVs while 
you're trying to get out of Dodge 
makes for a harrowing ride. 



:::::::::: The House That Battlefield Built 
•••• • 

j;:::::::: is getting back to its roots in a big 

•••••••••• way this year. Following last year's 

•••••••••• parkour-inspired pleasure known as 

Mirror's Edge, Swedish studio DICE is returning 
to its money franchise not once but twice in 2009 
while Faith's next wall-running adventure starts to 
simmer. We got a recent — and very loud — sneak 
peek at Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and also got 
our hands on Xbox Live Arcade's Battlefield 1943, 
a Frostbite engine-powered remake of the classic 
PC title that put DICE on the map. 

BAD COMPANY 2 

With our skulls still rattling from the intense 
surround sound during our demo, it's clear that 
Bad Company 2 is all about upping the Hollywood 
feel. The humor has been toned down a bit in 




► 0C2: Air-Strike Pizza — delivered in 30 
seconds or less, or it's free. 



favor of cranking up the explosive action, while 
the Frostbite engine debuted in the first title has 
been given a lot more destructive ability. 

The level we were shown was a small town 
in the icy mountains of Eastern Europe near the 
Russian border. Walking toward the village over 
a frozen lake (complete with half a boat poking 
out above the surface), the Bad Company crew is 
supposed to recon the area. Of course, things 
go bad in a hurry, and the furious gunplay 
begins. Cover seems to be emphasized a lot 
more this time around, though it can often be 
eroded and eliminated by your enemy thanks to 
Frostbite — and at one point our heroes actually 
called in an air strike that leveled half of the 
ice-caked town. 

Whereas most games would be satisfied with 
this kind of climax, Bad Company 2 continues 
to up the ante. The second stage of the mission 
takes place in a commandeered truck. From the 
back, it's up to you to shoot the gun-toting foes 
speeding toward you on ATVs while one of your 
fellow mercenaries throws the truck around tight 
cliffside corners at unsafe speeds. After we were 
nearly struck by a van that blows up and comes 
rolling toward you, the demo concluded with an 
attack helicopter you have to gun down before it 
does the same to you. 

The pacing, gameplay, and tone felt an awful 
lot like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but is that 
necessarily a bad thing? 



► EFi94J: It's our goal to become Xbox Live's 
most infamous pilots when 1943 releases. 

BATTLEFIELD 1943 

Billed by EA as a "premium" Xbox Live Arcade 
title (translation: it's likely to cost at least 
$20), Battlefield 1943 resurrects the PC classic 
Battlefield 1942 with fresh visuals and gamepad- 
tuned controls. The big-scale battles that birthed 
a sub-genre remain as fun as ever, and we quickly 
took a liking to the sniper class, as the scope on 
his rifle is so good that you can, with careful aim, 
literally kill people from three-quarters of the 
way across the map. (The other two classes are a 
rifle-wielding long-range guy and an auto-packing 
short-range soldier.) 

Tank controls also feel fine on the gamepad, 
while the thrill of taking off in a plane from your 
team's aircraft carrier is exhilarating. It's a no-frills 
offering, but the core here is so good that it might 
be enough to make you forget about all the other 
Battlefields to date. 

— Ryan McCaffrey 



26 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING: Battlefield 1943 will support 24 players, just as its Xbox 
360-based predecessors have. And Bad Company 2, of course, will have multiplayer of its own. 



ii nncnanoaiD 




■ 

J!:::::: : : Vito may be a gangster, but his 
•!!!:::::: heart's in the right place. After his 
•ii::;::;: father dies and his mother is left 
Si?::::::: struggling to pay the bills, he takes 
a few odd jobs with certain. ..connected people. 
He's kind of like The Sopranos' Christopher 
Moltisanti — except without the extreme 
narcissism and drug habit. 

Such is the foundation for Mafia II, the long- 
(loooooong)-in-the-works sequel to the 1930s 
mob tragedy that pulled off big-city gameplay 
way back when nobody outside of Rockstar 
North could. An Xbox port arrived in 2004, 
but it showed up with bullet holes in its 
pinstriped suit. 

This time around, Mafia spans the decade of 
the 1950s, is set in a fictional Manhattan-esque 
metropolis, and follows Vito and pal Joe through 
their mob lives. And though it's set in a huge, 
open city, "We're not making a sandbox game," 
claims producer Denby Grace. "Ultimately, [it's] 
about a strong, linear narrative." 

Sure, you'll do plenty of driving around — 
we saw both casual cruising and a car chase 
in action — but really, it's all about the story. 
In fact, we're told the script is 700 pages 
long! Based on our demo mission, which was 
peppered with a slew of short cutscenes, we're 
inclined to believe them. 



Arriving at the 
Empire Arms hotel, Vito 
and Joe leave young and 
jittery getaway driver 
Marty in their car and 
head inside, intent on 
reaching a meeting 
room on one of the 
upper floors where a 
mob boss is set to have 
a gathering. It's here 
that a "message" can be 
"sent" (that's murder in 
mob-speak). 

Slipping into 
maintenance workers' uniforms in the 
basement, Vito and Joe sneak up the elevators, 
walk into the Mafioso-filled room, and lay wires 
that are actually leads for the bomb. Moving 
up to the roof — where they're greeted by two 
mobsters spitting over the side who must be 
gunned down — they take the window-cleaner 
lift down to the floor where the meeting is. 
Rigging the explosives, they begin to move 
up and out of the way, but the bomb triggers 
prematurely, killing many guys but not their 
target. As Vito and Joe enter through the blown- 
out windows, a firefight ensues, showing off 
the incredible destruction 2K Czech's game 



► No loading times and impressive draw 
distance highlight the game's proprietary tech. 



engine allows. Bullets do as much damage 
to the surrounding environment as they do to 
people, breaking glass, shredding furniture, and 
puncturing paintings. 

Vito and Joe's new goal is merely to survive, 
as they become the targets, chased out of the 
hotel by the rival family. Reaching their getaway 
car, they find Marty executed. They escape after 
a thrilling driving sequence, and then the word 
of the day becomes "escalation." Between Vito's 
failed hit and your rivals' murder of Marty, one 
thing is certain: more mobsters are going to die. 
Is it bad that we're excited about that? 

— Ryan McCaffrey 



28 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



FUN NUMBERS: Mafia H's gameworld will be 10 square miles (double the geographical size 
of Mafia's), and it'll host 20 unique neighborhoods and over 100 traversable indoor areas. 



0XBQX 





iJjJDGDDPC 



1 1 1 



i ii i nnr 




»xeox 



zconnnnnnc 



The Saboteur •> 



Paint the town red, would ya? 



• If you caught wind of The Saboteur 

llli:::::: when it was first unveiled, you 

••• 

Si:::::::: probably remember it as "that 

•••••••••• black-and-white World War II game." 

At first blush, it's sort of an odd concept, and 

Pandemic lead designer Tom French admits that 

"a lot of people rolled their eyes" when the game 

was first pitched internally. It's been kept under 

lock and key for the past two years, but when 

we recently checked it out, all that quiet alone 

time seems to be paying off with the kind of 

promising sandbox play that made Pandemic's 

Mercenaries such a hit. 

And while they won't come right out and say 

it, The Saboteur looks very much like the sequel 

to Mercenaries — at least spiritually. The idea for 

the game was born on a trans-Pacific flight where 

Pandemic co-founder Andrew Goldman tore 

through a book about William Grover-Williams*, 

a real-life British race-car driver who became a 

roguish secret agent — just the kind of resume 

that game creators dream of. But Pandemic also 

wanted to "sell the fantasy of getting on top of 

buildings [in occupied Paris], looking around, 

and pouncing on Nazis," reports French. "[We'd 

been] watching a lot of French films, and Paris is 

such a colorful city, but we wanted to stick the 

Occupation on top of that. So we decide to go 

black-and-white to suck the life out of it." 



It "proved difficult" to pull off, continues 
French, "but when Sin City came out, we learned 
a lot of tricks from the DVD — especially the 
making-ofs." Whatever the source of their 
inspiration, The Saboteur's black-and-white 
stylings are executed to impressive dramatic 
effect. It absolutely doesn't look dull for being in 
B&W. Spots of red color highlight the swastika 
armbands on enemies or the lighting on a radio 
tower; flourishes of blue and yellow also help 
break up the monotone factor. And even if gray 
is the only color on the screen, the canny use 
of contrast and lighting give the action a vibrant 
feel. The Saboteur is nothing if not striking 
to look at. 

Just don't take it all too seriously. "We were 
inspired by the Nazis of Indiana Jones" smiles 
French. " We want that pulp action feel; we 
play it up." So zeppelins flit over Paris, even 
though they were out of commission by then. 
And alongside the usual assassination and 
demolition fodder, the game has what French 
proudly calls "ridiculous missions." Like the one 
where you chase your nemesis through a burning 
zeppelin that's on the verge of exploding. Indy 
would be proud! 

Throughout it all, you're playing as Sean 
Devlin (an Irishman modeled after Grover- 
Williams), who starts the game as a budding 



race driver. When a wrong-place-wrong-time 
situation leads to a friend getting killed, Devlin 
flees Germany to return to his race team's HQ 
in France. "We tell you to use a car to get over 
the border, but you could just slog your way out, 
though it is more difficult," explains French as he 
describes how wide-open The Saboteur's world 
is. That all happens just as the Nazis invade 
France, and eventually Devlin ends up fighting as 
an International Man of Sabotage in Paris. "He's 
not liberating Paris," French clarifies. "He's just 
making a dent." 

While we couldn't get ahold of a controller 
just yet, The Saboteur's gameplay is clearly the 
stuff of arcade action. Devlin easily sneaks up on 
Nazis and flings them bodily around. In another 
sequence, he clears some flamethrower Nazis by 
shooting the fuel tanks strapped to their backs, 
prompting giddy explosions. Devlin takes cover 
fluidly, just tucking into whatever's in front of 
him without the prompting of a button press. 
"It makes Sean look smart," says French. "He's 
never standing and staring blankly while people 
shoot him." Completing a mission sends color 
rippling across the surrounding neighborhood, 
which makes for a pretty sweet reward. And 
we're starting to think that playing saboteur will 
be just that kind of good, colorful fun. 

— Paul Curthoys / 



"If it looks like you should be able to climb it, you can climb it," 
savs Pandemic's French. Yes. even the Eiffel Tower. 



- . i: L 





.vU 



15 


\m 


VJ \ v v 


ry*-- 


! k 


■ 

i 


I " 








m 


*£m 


L 



To construct its virtual Paris, 
Pandemic started with old maps 
and then built the monuments to 
scale "so they look right next to 
the player," explains French. N< 
they laid in the major arteries, 
making sure they were fun to 
drive. Last up was filling in the 
buildings and fine-tuning each 
neighborhood. "It's a Disneyland 
version of Paris," chuckles French, i 
which is great to hear since you'll 
spend 60 percent of the game 
there. (The Saboteur also sends 
you to the French coast, and to the German and French countryside.) Pictured here 
is the Belles des Nuits neighborhood, one of the major hubs in the city that claims 
in Rouge as its landmark. 



30 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



*WHO?: A member of the British upper crust, William Grover-Williams (on whom Sean Devlin 
is based) raced both motorcycles and Grand Prix cars across Europe in the 1930s. 



*OUCH: Grover-Williams' French fluency got him assigned to the Special Ops Executive, 
where he served undercover in Paris, planning sabotage ops until his arrest and execution. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 31 



Oxeox 

rmrrn — 



"i m-inn — i i-nnnrfrr 



I 



Ghostbusters: 

THE VIDEO GAME 



§ 




"Um...we're gonna need two 
big-ass graham crackers and 
all the chocolate you can find!' 




The first few 
levels of the game 
draw heavily on 
movie memories — 
but soon, you're in 
uncharted territory. 



It is with extreme, cheese-filled regret 
that we admit this, but...busting 
actually does make us feel good. 
We really didn't want to put it that 
way, but the heroic fun practically oozes out of 
Ghostbusters: The Video Game in both single- 
player and multiplayer modes. 

We recently got a chance to march through the 
first few hours of the campaign, which included 
many of the areas already seen in our earlier 
previews — the return to the Sedgewick Hotel to 
recapture Slimer, the office building fight against 
Stay-Puft, and the journey through the New York 
Public Library to get the librarian ghost that got 
away. But this time, we also got to explore the 
Ghostbusters firehouse, escort the Ecto-i to 
Times Square, and search for secret collectibles 
with our PKE meter. 

Crucially, we finally got to hear all the actors 
playing their roles in full. Bill Murray's Peter 
Venkman is the lazy ladies' man — perhaps 
sounding a little older, but his ass is also a little 



wiser. (Case in point, in a pickup line to new 
love interest Dr. Ilisya Selwyn: "You know, I 
never forget a face...attached...to all the rest of 
that.") Ray Stantz still sounds as enthusiastic 
as ever; it's as if Dan Aykroyd never stopped 
playing the role. You'll get to hear plenty of 
Egon Spenglerand Winston Zeddemore, too, 
since you pair up with everybody for parts of 
missions — clearing debris from shattered 
New York streets with Winston, for instance, 
or blasting spectral books in the bowels of 
the library with Ray. The ghost-wrangling and 
trapping mechanic still felt fun several hours 
into the game: playing with new proton-pack 
functionality like the ghost-freezing Stasis 
Stream and sticky Slime Tether offered some 
welcome variety. 

It's not exactly survival horror, but many 
parts of the game are at least unsettling, such 
as walking around a flooded hotel scanning 
for spectral entities, hoping a spider-like 
candelabra doesn't continued on P g. 34 ►► 



32 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



THE START: In Dan Aykroyd's first draft of the film script, the Ghostbusters were already a 
franchised business. Harold Ramis helped revise the story to show their academic origins. 



THE ALMOST-'BUSTERS:The role of Louis Tully was originally written for John Candy. 
Similarly, Eddie Murphy was in mind for Winston, and John Belushi was to play Venkman. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 33 



Oxeox 

nUDDCDDDDL 



].nnDDrni 1 irr~nrn-in — 




Ghostbusters continued 



Ghostbusters find dimensional 
portals in the darndest places. 
Terminal Reality has really taken 
advantage of the environmental 
freedom a game engine provides. 





pounce on your face. Or in the darkened library, 
where symmetrical book stacks Oust like the 
Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947!) appear 
where you were standing just moments before. 
Stalking through the juvenile section of the library, 
listening to the cries and whispers of phantom 
children and seeing spectral handprints on the 
walls...brrrrr. It's easy to remember Ghostbusters 
as a comedy, but it tried to be spooky, too. The 
game arguably does this even better, aided ably 
by great graphics and glowing visual effects. 
You'll catch cartoonish ghosts, but the 'busters 
themselves look only slightly caricatured, and the 
environments are rich with destructible details. 
We like joining the iconic team as the freshly 
recruited Experimental EquipmentTechnician, but 
we're also happy that multiplayer lets us jump 
into the suits of the original four Ghostbusters. 
Did you like Gears ofWar2's Horde mode? Good, 
because that's basically what you're going to get 
here — six four-player co-op scenarios (and mini- 
campaigns that tie three scenarios together) on 
Xbox Live. Some are simply contests to see how 
long you can last, but they're all competitive: your 
performance will be ranked at the continued on P g. 36 m 



that the physics of it make sense 
somehow — that intelligent people 
wouldn't look at what we were doing 
nnH think it was totally ridiculous. " 

OLD RAMIS: Well, I would hate to 
ross-examined by a real physicist, 
we actually consulted with the 
Dropulsion laboratory in Pasadena, 
posed the question: If ghosts 
ted, how would we detect their 
;ence? They talked about very 
~rete changes in temperature and 
barometric pressure, all kinds of motion 
sensors and smells — that's why Bill 
Murray is carrying a sniffer when he 
first goes to Sigourney's apartment. 
I was sort of more interested in the 
parapsychology aspect, but Dan 
Aykroyd had a theoretical basis in his 
head from the beginning, based on a 
real belief system of his, which I don't 
really share. But I slept through enough 
physics classes that it all sounded 
familiar and plausible to me. 

OXM: As a result of that research, the 
Ghostbusters universe has always felt 
very believable and real. So when you 
see people building their own outfits 
and arguing over names of fictitious 
proton-pack parts, do you feel pride 
or shame? 

HR: [laughs] When a woman tells me 
"My husband has watched Caddyshack 
150 times," I usually feel bad about 
that. But in the case of Ghostbusters. 
I think it did a lot for 



continued on pg. 36 



34 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



EWW: Where does that yellow tube on the jumpsuit go? "We don't know," laughs Ramis. "The 
fact that they made it yellow adds some unpleasant urinary connection, but it's not a catheter." 



Oxeox 

nbncQGDDQ 




unnc — n — i~r _ 



".nnnnnr* 



—innnni — annnrorTinn-m 



Ghostbusters continued 



In multiplayer, you'll 
need to trap ghosts, 
save your friends, 
and beat the clock — 
simultaneously! 



01 4 




BEYOND EGON (continued) 

kids. I'm an amateur psychologist, but 
there's actually a developmental age 
in kids develop this fear of what's 
in the closet or what's under the bed. 
The movie did a lot to empower kids — 
*y were scared by the experience of 
idling the movie, but they felt like, 
"Wow, if those three idiots can handle 
this, there's someone out there who 
can protect me." And I've had calls 
from friends and acquaintances who 
: "My child is terrified that there's 
lost in our house. Will you talk 
hem?" And I'll talk to the kid and 
_ _/: "Do you know me? I'm Egon. I can 
assure you, there are no ghosts in your 
house. I promise you." 



~~inr~ 



VI: Egon loosens up between the first 
1 second films... 

The second one was just on TV and 
itched some of it. I kinda regret the 
seningup — a little bit. 



XefabdflftrcJGUWY 



M: But he seems to be back in the 
science box for the game. Take us into 
Faon's future — where is he when he's 

ired? What does he do for fun? 



S4DDD 



r-i'.l« 



end of each round, and you'll earn both cash 
and bragging rights. Containment matches — 
where a wave ends when all ghosts have been 
eliminated (ortime runs out) — bearthe 
strongest resemblance to Horde; they're 
also the most fun. Other variations include 
Destruction (quickly blast the ghost-spawning 
artifacts that appear around the level) and 
Protection (defend your PKE Disruptors from the 
ghosts who try to destroy them). Quick, fun stuff. 

Playing through the main campaign in 
co-op wouldn't make much narrative sense, 
nor would launching proton streams atyour 
teammates, so co-op multiplayer really is the 
only option. While we're concerned that the 
few number of MP levels could work against 
the game's long-term appeal, what we played 
was a blast. There's enough positive stuff 
in place to make us think Ghostbusters, like 
Riddick and Lego Star Wars before it, could 
join the increasingly promising pantheon of 
Xbox 360 movie-inspired games that don't 
suck. And that makes us feel good, too. 

— Dan Amrich 







► Oh, the indignity! Venkman hates getting 
slimed, but frankly, getting flamed seems worse. 



Because we're talking about a thirc 
ostbusters film and the script is 
ng written, I have a very clear idea 
ere Egon is. The only hint I'll give yoi 
hat he's moved past the physical 
ne of reality — he's almost entirely 
an ethereal plane. 

M: When it comes to unexplained 
phenomena, Dan Aykroyd has always 
strongly been "the believer" and 
you have always been "the skeptic. " 
After 25 years of playing with the 
supernatural, are you still skeptical? 

HR: Oh, absolutely. WelL.interestingly, 
having just finished a movie that has 
many points of contact with the Old 
Testament [Year One, releasing this 
June], it kind of does suggest the 
question of supernatural interference 
in our world, not unlike the question 
raised in Ghostbusters. And I was 
advised by a consulting rabbi that 
even though I'm a secular humanist, 
not to throw out the mystery. There 
are things we don't know and may 
never know. God lives in what we don't 
understand; that's the real source of 
religion. So I guess I can say that I'm 
a believer that there are things we 
don't know. But I stop short of trying to 
explain everything we don't know with 
seriously imperfect explanations. ■ 



36 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



HAROLD ANGELS: In addition to writing and directing movies like National Lampoon's 
Vacation and Groundhog Day, Harold Ramis once worked as a comedy editor for Playboy. 



0xeo; 

□pen: 




i 



]JuuGGD03ZDaDDDgc:i3QDLB~i i ~iJaO" 




©xeox 






Black College Football X perience \5H # Incort Pnin 



Play a little, learn a lot 



Jj:::::: : : Though the collection of 103 

•••• 

j::::::::: universities that make up the 

Stliiiiiii Historically Black Colleges 
•••••!•••• and Universities (HBCUs) has 
produced ample NFL talent over its century- 
plus existence — including Jerry Rice, Doug 
Williams, Walter Payton, and dozens of others 
— it's never gotten the attention or respect it 
deserves in videogame form from EA's annual 
NCAA Football series. Startup studio Nerjyzed 
hopes to change that with BCFX. 




► The virtual museum will teach you a lot 
about the history of HBCUs, but any serious 
college-football fan should already know all 
about Coach Robinson. 



"It's a total football- 
game experience that is 
exciting, authentic, 
and challenging, while 
serving as a tribute to 
a magnificent legacy of 
HBCUs," says Nerjyzed 
chairwoman and CEO 
Jacqueline S. Beauchamp. 

Though it's backed by 
the versatile Unreal Engine 
3, "Our game is certainly 
not a first-person shooter," 
offers creative design 
director Brian Jackson. "So 
we've had to be creative 
and very smart about how 
we approach football gameplay." BCFX promises 
a fully featured football experience on the field, 
but more importantly for those of us not as 
familiar with HBCUs, the game educates through 
an interactive Legacy Museum, a documentary 
video, and more. It also emphasizes the musical 
pageantry these schools are known for, with 
fully interactive Dance Dance Revolution-style 
drumline challenges and halftime shows. 




► An Unreal Engine-powered football game? Okay, now we've 
officially seen everything! 



As a videogame, Black College Football 
Xperience will ultimately be judged by the quality 
of its on-field gameplay, which, judging from 
our hands-on with an early build, has the basics 
down but is still a bit rough around the edges. 
If nothing else, though, it should make you a 
smarter, better-informed sports fan. 

— Ryan McCaffrey 



nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnn nnnrlinnnnnnrin-i'-nffrinnnnnn'nnnnfy 



Q Mini Ninjas 

A missing Link? 




» Hey, why is Link dressed like a female ninja? Oh, wait 



It took a minute to click, but before 
;::::::::: long we realized what the impossibly 
•"iliilii CL| t e Mini Ninjas reminds us of: 
•••••••••• Nintendo's controversial eel-shaded 

entry in the legendary Zelda series, Wind Waker. 
From the gorgeously cartoony art style to the 
hack-and-slash action-adventure gameplay, it's 
got a similar look and feel. And that's just fine 
with us. 



^XRaf&^^^&T L<3/ 



1 Instead of having you 

save a princess, though, 
Mini Ninjas casts you as Hiro, 
the last hope in a village 
whose best heroes have 
I disappeared after being sent 
off to stop an Evil Warlord 
from using Kuji magic. You 
see, Mr. Warlord's been 
decimating village homes 
with his Kuji-fueled storms 
and turning local woodland 
creatures into mutated 
servants. Bad Warlord! 
Fortunately, joining 
Hiro at all times is his best friend, Futo, who 
(physically speaking) is the Chris Farley to Hiro's 
David Spade. The plump pal wields a mean club, 
and though only one character is ever onscreen 
at a time (sadly, this means no co-op play), you 
can switch between them at any time. Along 
the way, you'll also rescue lost village ninjas, 
who will join your party and become playable, 
boasting their own moves and attacks. 



► Hiro's loafing pal Futo may be "rotund," 
but he swings a mighty mallet. 



We couldn't help but smile at a couple of 
Hiro's moves. He can use his big hat as a shield, 
a sled, and a boat, while his evolving mastery of 
Kuji magic lets him possess freed animals (so he 
can, say, scare enemies away as a bear). 

With RPG-like character upgrades, multiple 
paths, and stealth elements rounding out the 
package, perhaps Mini Ninjas will even manage 
to make a certain green tunic-wearing Master 
Sword-bearer a bit envious... 

— Ryan McCaffrey 



O) if) 



CD 10 



d 
□ 

!_ 
L 
L 

r 
n 
E 

E 

□ 
P 

U 



inaccDnzinnnnE s t 



o u5 



£ a 



A look at tomorrow's Live Arcade Wednesdays...today! 



MILITARY MADNESS 

Publisher: HUDSON ENTERTAINMENT Developer: BACKBONE ENTERTAINMENT 

Live/Multiplayer: YES Release Date: Q3 2009 For Fans Of: Carcass onne, Age o f Booty 

ON THE CABINET: Meet the 

advanced version of Advance 
Wars — in advance! 
OUR 25C: Despite our very public 
and very much ongoing love affair 
with our old TurboGrafx-i6s, we're 
ashamed to admit that we never 
played the hex- and turn-based 
war/strategy gem Military 
Madness. If you've tried any of the 
handheld iterations of Advance 
Wars, you'll know exactly what to 
expect here. 

Facing off against either a 
computer-controlled commander 
in the campaign mode or a human foe (locally or online) in one of five multiplayer maps, you'll put your 
army against theirs in a strategic duel to the death. Each unit is assigned offensive and defensive stats, so 
you'll need to look at the numbers before you send your tank against their commander. A better strategy 
would be to try to surround your target with your infantry and badass commander unit, or perhaps get all 
of your units to adjacent high ground (terrain factors into the gameplay). If you like, you can move every 
unit in your army during your turn; just be sure you're happy with what you've done before you press Y to 
end it. We may have missed this one 15 years ago, but we won't make the same mistake again. 




HYPE LEVEL: 



8 <8 ■ ■ 



— Ryan McCaffrey 



DINER DASH 



Publisher: HUDSON ENTERTAINMENT Developer: HUDSON ENTERTAINMENT 



Live/Multiplayer: YES Release Date: SUMMER 2009 For Fans Of: Food! 




ON THE CABINET: A frantic, 

tip-filled take on the world's 
second-oldest profession. 
OUR 25C: Since a Live Arcade 
version was announced eons 
ago, we've been waiting eagerly 
for Diner Dash's menu to be 
brought out to us. Our order has 
finally been taken, and we've 
had a chance to try out this 
quirky waitress simulator. 

Guiding your waitress avatar 
with the left stick, you'll need 
to seat incoming patrons, take 
their orders as soon as they've 
decided, deliver their orders to the kitchen, bring out their food once it's ready, and then pick up the 
check and clean up after they've left. If this sounds simple, it's because it starts out exactly that way. 
As you progress through each of the five diners' 10 stages, though (with each diner bigger and more 
complex than the one before it), the customers come in all kinds of varying party sizes, take different 
times to make decisions, and generally become more difficult to juggle. Trying to balance everything at 
once quickly grows nuts, but that's where the new-for-Arcade co-op mode comes in: Work together with 
a friend to manage the customer crush, or team up in the eight-player Xbox Live mode, where you'll 
compete with three other duos to keep your customers the happiest. Check please! 



^■l— L 



HYPE LEVEL: 



M 1 1 



■ Ryan McCaffrey 



38 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



THEY HEART LINK: Even the health bar in Mini Ninjas is from Zelda, as your life is represented 
by multiple heart icons. Hopefully, they won't have their own version of Tingle. 



DEAR HUDSON: We appreciate you bringing a classic TurboGrafx-16 game to Xbox Live Arcade. 
Next, could you give the same treatment to Bonk's Adventure! 



0xeo; 
— r 




]_DiZL:i-DDZSZOGDu: 1 



nmnmn 




Fight Night Round 4 9 ) * 



St:::::: : : The unfathomably awesome visual 

•••• 

•St::::::: and gameplay impact of 2006's 

*:!::::::: subUme Fight Night Round 3 was 

•!!!!!!!!! not unlike the face-melting effects 

felt by the Nazis when they cracked open the Ark 

of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Okay, 

we mean in a good way, without the floating 

banshees and lakes of fire, of course. 

And though three years is a long time 

between sequels — especially in sports games - 




the improvements between Round 3 and the 
overdue Round 4 aren't immediately apparent. 
But somehow...it's prettier. The characters 
look a little more realistic and less cartoony, 
while the subtleties of the blood and sweat 
have been refined to an eerily lifelike degree 
(did EA somehow figure out how to mo-cap body 
fluids?). And playing it for ourselves revealed a 
wealth of under-the-hood changes that not only 
look great on paper, but actually benefit FNR^s 
gameplay as well. Our 
hands-on time also 
towels off any fears we 
might've had about 
this series moving from 
the now-defunct EA 
Chicago to the Great 
White North and 
EA Canada. 

In short, there is 
nothing left to do but 
start playing Round 3 
again to train for your 
next bout. 

First things first: 
Though the dual- 
analog controls 



remain and will be instantly familiar to anyone 
who's spent time with Round 3, tweaks have 
been made for the better. You'll no longer need 
a modifier to throw body blows (an old habit 
we couldn't quite break during our sessions). 
Instead, a simple tap to the left or right on the 
right thumbstick will initiate a kidney punch. 
The RB button now acts as a haymaker modifier: 
hold it and then execute your punch of choice 
to throw a slower, more powerful version of 
whatever you've just queued. The face buttons, 
meanwhile — A for a signature punch, B for a 
dirty hit, Y to grapple, and X to push away — 
return unchanged. 

Also new is the interactive gameplay that 
pops up between rounds. Eschewing the Q-Tip- 
swabbing mini-game from Round 3 — yeah, it 
was fun at first but got repetitive by the fifth 
fight — Round 4 introduces an RPG-like system 
that lets you cash in points earned through 
your performance during the round in exchange 
for small, medium, or large recoveries to your 
health, stamina, or damage. While you can 
simply select "Auto" and let the game decide 
your best course of action, a layer of strategy 
comes from the fact that, for instance, if you've 
had a good round, you can simply save all your 



40 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



NICE TOUCH: If you carve open your opponent's face and make him bleed, the tape on your 
wrists will actually get covered in his blood over time as you pound him further. Ewww! 



0XBOX 

DDpDZlCElDDI 




ana ii 



I IDDDDDIZaOa nnr DDDDDDDQaE 



Fight Night Round 4 continued 




Did EA somehow 
figure out how to 
mo-cap body fluids? 



points for a time later on in the 
fight when you'll need them a 
lot more. 

As for those physics we 
gushed over in our first-look 
preview a couple issues back? 
They're anything but window 
dressing. With FNR^s spiffy new feature that let us edit together fight 
highlights for upload to Xbox Live (and because it can be so difficult to 
parse the details at full speed), we kept pausing and replaying bouts to 
see stuff like our Mike Tyson actually touching faces with an opposing 
Muhammad Ali — making their heads naturally tilt in the wake of the 
slight impact. We also witnessed punches that barely grazed their target 
because of the other guy's realistic movements (something that happens 
all the time in real-life boxing), and even jabs that went over the top of a 
foe's head, connecting with nothing but air. 

In a later fight, we got clocked with a right cross for a knockdown 
blow, and as we dropped to our knees, we were whacked again in the 
back of the skull, sending our Mike Tyson avatar face-first into the ropes, 
where he bounced back and fell flat onto the canvas, unable to get back 
up. While this could happen in Round 3, it was more of an optical illusion 
gameplay-wise. Here, it's all too real. 

Finally, we're assured that all of the venues from Round 3 will return, 
along with plenty of new ones. They'll serve as the settings for the rebuilt- 
from-scratch career mode, where your goal is to become the greatest of all 
time. In the videogame boxing world, of course, Round 3 currently holds 
that title. It is the face-melting Ark of the Videogame Boxing Covenant. 
So the question is, \N\WR0und4 be Fight Night's Temple of Doom or its 
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 1 . 

— Ryan McCaffrey 







**m * 


r~%M 


If online play is improved ^^ BM^-^^^H t) 
over Round 3, we might ^^^^^^^^^^ J 
never log off of Round 4. ^H^^^^^ '*, m 



I ► Long before biting another 
I man's ear off, Mike Tyson was a 
I videogame star on the NES. 



42 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



GET IN THE GAME: Round 4 will employ EA's established Photo Game Face technology, 
meaning you'll be able to preview what your mug will look like after your next barroom brawl! 



BI0SH0CK2 #xeox 



±}>y vl[tftybma fhe deidfhg 
definitively zngWetg 




4 C R$f$^eg affeTtyafh, &S>ze>$)i6c\ 

fhe 9.ae-&ld auegflm yyh® g umT ctzclclui 



99 




y* 


=3^ '*i 










■■> 




■ 




Vjk 1 :\lA^I 


•s 


r^ 




Meet the Big Sister. 
The cage on her back 
is for kidnappings! 



L BioShock isn't an easy game to follow. A meticulously detailed and hugely distinctive gameworld, a 
^ remarkable story with a show-stopping twist, and two completely different endings — one of them 
^k apocalyptic — doesn't leave a lot of room for tentative updates. 

^L 2K Marin has solved one issue simply by sticking with the original's failed underwater Utopia 

^k of Rapture as its setting. In doing so, it ties off the timeline: BioShock 2 takes place after the first 
^k game, but it doesn't commit to what's happening on the surface. The story, the studio's keeping 
^m very close to its chest. But the basic setup is a whopper: you aren't a hapless interloper, you're a 
^M Big Daddy. And you've just been knocked off the top of the food chain. Years after the Little Sisters 
^m left Rapture, one has grown up and come back. 
^m "People have talked a lot about prequel or sequel," says creative director Jordan Thomas. "If we 

W did a pure one of either of those, we wouldn't be surprising you enough." Instead, BioShock 2 is set 
y "10 years-ish" after the first game in a battered but still largely intact Rapture. 

"We didn't think BioShock would be BioShock without Rapture," explains lead artist Hogarth De 
La Plante. "Rapture was a really fascinating place, and there were lots of compelling untold stories and 
unexplored locations still within the city and within the mythology." 

The ending of the first game is never stated, although it's become the stuff of legend among the once- 
human Splicers still fighting for dwindling reserves of genetic-upgrade material Adam. This vague stability is 
disturbed by the Big Sister: one of the original Little Sisters who has grown up, returned, and equipped herself 
with a sort of sports edition of the Big Daddy suit. For reasons 2K won't reveal (and hey, letting the game 
reveal its own story is a large part of the fun), she wants to bring back the old Rapture, and is abducting girls 
from the surface to turn into Little Sisters. The city is hers now, and she guards it closely. 



Jlsln fhe lp9tyl(ly 



This is spelled out in the first minutes of our demo, dubbed "Hunting the Big Sister," as we gradually awake to 
the radio nagging of one of Rapture's few survivors — Dr. Tenenbaum. Older, more tired, and still just as guilt- 
stricken, she's your advisor as you take your first tottering steps. 

And they're big steps, because you're an integral part of Rapture. You're no normal Big Daddy — you're 
the very first. The prototype, left in a puddle somewhere in the back of Dr. Suchong's lab, capable of much 
more than your dimmer successors. You're leaner, faster, and can use Plasmids as well as the monstrous 



►► 



46 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



PACKING HEAT: As the prototype Big Daddy, one of your standard (i.e., non-Plasmid) weapons 
will be the Rivet Gun. We saw it in action; it would seriously hurt to be on the receiving end. 



YOU DON'T KNOW JACK: Thomas did confirm to us that original-game hero Jack will not 
return in any capacity in BioShock 2, as this one "isn't his story." 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 47 



"CHANGE 



L L mining tools equipped as standard. Both can be upgraded as in the original game, although the 
L L Plasmid system is more gratifying. Every upgrade you make gives a new Plasmid ability; so updating 
W W Incinerate, for instance, takes you from launching fireballs to wielding a built-in flamethrower. 
r * You're more than capable of taking down other Big Daddies (though once again, they're no 

pushovers), which begs the question: Why? Another secret, we're told. "As the prototype, you're part of 
Rapture's history. A lot of things make you special," explains Thomas. "Suffice to say, they decided to simplify. 
I can't really tell you about the incidents that lead to that..." 

Regardless, you're still one of the toughest things in Rapture, as the demo shows by dropping the player 
into a group of normal, short-lived Splicers. BioShock players will recognize the sudden rush with drill 
outstretched, and see that it's much more satisfying from this side of the diving helmet — luckless Splicers 
just expire in a screeching, blood-splattering explosion like a pre-dentist nightmare. Another is quickly flame- 
grilled; turning to the third, a mere gesture with the drill makes him turn and run. 

"The Splicers fleeing from you is something that actually can occur when they get pared down enough," 
says Thomas. "It's an important part of the fantasy of being a Big Daddy." 

A less obvious plus is the ability to go outside Rapture, as you can now survive underwater. You can use 
this to sneak peeks into internal areas (some recognizable from the first game) and harvest Adam-carrying 
slugs straight from the seabed, but it's also the best way to take a break and just marvel at the wonderland 
you're playing in. This is the money shot of the demo, trudging through the plant life and marine debris while 
the sea rumbles and roars around you, the stunning structures of Rapture rising overhead. It's breathtaking. 



Jbefi M®fi 



But the most important part of being a Big Daddy is, of course, your relationship with the Little Sisters. As 
with the first game, how you deal with them affects your progress — but this time you're fighting with, rather 
than against, them. Having dispatched the first group of Splicers, we go on to rescue a lone Little Sister from 
Splicers that had slain her protector; in the game it'll be you doing the slaying and then slotting in as the new, 
slightly blood-streaked father-figure afterward. Little Sisters are so strongly conditioned that they can overlook 
this, and will willingly hop on your shoulders and go Adam-hunting. 

If you let them. This is the first big choice in BioShock 2: harvest or adopt. Harvest kills them for a big 
Adam hit to boost your Plasmids and a massive karma ding that you'll pay for later. Adopt, and you can rescue 
them as in the first game — or keep them as an Adam-harvesting helper. "The adoption mechanic, fairly 
importantly, is a direct rebuttal to the horrible escort quest that you may have played in other games starting 
with BioShock," laughs Thomas. It's not a simple escort mission: whenever a Little Sister harvests a corpse, 
she draws every nearby Splicer to you, triggering what Thomas calls an "opt-in siege." 

The battle we saw through the helmet of a heavily upgraded Big Daddy in the foyer of Fontaine 
Futuristics was spectacular. A few minutes' warning gave time to throw down cyclone traps around the 
Little Sister before the Splicers came swarming through the doors and windows. The struggle that follows is 
fast and messy: the player flames one Splicer, lures another into the cyclone trap, only to turn around and see 
a third hacking at the Little Sister. These "gathering" encounters will be challenging, with large numbers of 
normal Splicers, but as you progress you'll meet newer versions that pose even bigger problems. 

"Splicers that have managed to survive all this time have had to become apex predators," 
describes Thomas, "slowly splicing themselves into something that can survive. There are new 
Splicers and a lot of them are significant threats to a Big Daddy." 



'JvpfWj fhf have \anajei fe gutvlve aff fUg 
fifye have fad f© he&tye aj>ex ■ptedaf&T^ 



BIOSHOCK 2 #xeox 



You'll be able to upgrade your 
literal firepower to a full-on 

flamethrower. 






+5 


) \ ^£— 




■ L 






-^P^^^jfc 1 r ^X^^^^l 


'«► 




m- 


M 


, 



shatter and 
burn out, but in Rapture, 
neon lives on. r 






Splicers still roam Rapture 
in search of Adam...wherever 
they can find it. 






K3L 



*/ 



'N? 



- * 






Hypn&tii* Big DaddYj|_ 

Wait, no glove? Does this mean you step out of the Big Daddy suit at some point? 



!'S NEW DADDY 



JORDAN THOMAS TELLS US HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BIOSHOCK 



Q: How early in the process did you decide 
to make the player a Big Daddy? 

A: I knew that players of the first BioShock had 
become a Big Daddy and found it either slow 
or unfulfilling because they couldn't use the 
weapons — it wasn't transformative enough. 
It seemed like delivering on that for real and 
offering a unique destiny that goes all the way 
back to Rapture's history was the way to go. 

Q: BioShock was presented with intellectual references to Ayn Rand 
and objectivism. Do you have a new inspiration this time? 

A: It's critical to BioShock that the ideas that inform our characters are ideas 
from the real world and they invite the player to think if he or she is interested. 
I can't go into a ton of detail, but I will say it's very important to me that the 
player of BioShock 2 is introduced to ideas in the way they probably were in 
the first game. 



Q: Do you feel obligated to include a big twist in the game? 

A: I can't talk a ton about narrative because it would spoil things for you. But 
if your whole goal is to surprise the player, the best possible way to ruin it is 
to let them know there's a bear trap six feet in front of them. [Laughs] I will say 
that what I got out of the BioShock twist, as you call it, was the unity. It spoke 
about the kind of game you were playing and the kind of interactivity that 
was supported by the world. And that is something I consider critical to the 
BioShock series and I wouldn't ever want to let go. 

Q: How about improving the ending? BioShock's was a low point 
compared to the rest of the game. 

A: BioShock had a pretty binary ending and there was a point where it was 
irreversible and you were put into Box A or Box B. This time around, my goal is 
to make sure that along the way, when the player is making choices that are 
going to resonate in the endgame, they're aware of it every step of the way. 
They have elected to choose where they want to end up, to choose what box 
they end up in. 



48 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



HACK ATTACK: Thomas also mentioned that hacking will return for BioShock 2, but that the 
mini-game through which you do it will likely change. 



OLD-SCHOOL: Though BioShock creator Ken Levine isn't directly involved in the sequel — "We 
learned a lot from him," Thomas says — he's not totally out of the loop. "We talk a lot casually." 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 49 



"CHANGE 



§he Can leaf aCT^g fke tuty, «f avaye pu ttifh the l\aie m Jtet af^, 
and he away before ym have ft\e f© (and a gfaf- 




►► differ Jftf 



As in the first game, your actions shape how you progress, and they'll guide you to planned multiple endings — 
though this time you get a better indication of which one you're heading for and have the chance to change it. 
Butonethingyou can't escape is the wrath of the Big Sister. As the new overlord of the city, she likes things 
just the way they are, and as you separate Little Sisters from their Big Daddies, she'll start to take notice. 

Jordan explains: "When you've gone through enough Little Sisters, you have another dynamic encounter 
with the Big Sister. She's the one who will hunt you and you have this countdown to prepare; you'll hear this 
creepy little-girl voice over the radio noting that the Big Sister is coming." 

This is the true goosebumps moment of the demo — the point where you realize thatyour big drill might 
not be the catch-all solution it's been so far. A shriek in the distance and a whimper from the Little Sister: 
"Oh, Mr. B., Big Sister doesn't want you to play with me..." A few minutes of glancing around the bloodstained 
lobby and she's there, springing onto the globe in the center and going on the attack. 

And it's fast. Really fast. She leaps insect-like around the room, attacking more quickly and more brutally 
than the Splicers. She can leap across the room, savage you with the blade attached to her arm, and be away 
before you have time to land a shot. Then comes her Plasmid treatment: a swirling tornado fills the room, 
picking up all the furniture and sending it flying directly at you. Game over. 



fe(( Vs » Sfa 



y 



As a mere boss fight, it's gripping stuff, and that's without seeing any standout moments akin to BioShock's 
stunning Fort Frolic. Thomas was the creator of that, the highlight of the game for many players, and we're 
promised similarly powerful encounters — tying action, story, and location together — in the sequel. Expect 
some haunting settings and unsettling new characters in your travels through the doomed undersea 
world when the game hits late this year. "There will be surprises," promises lead level designer Zak 
McClendon. More people like Sander Coen? "Definitely." 

Like all good residents of Rapture, we're holding our breath. • 



RAPTUROUS 
MULTIPLAYER 

GOOD NEWS: There's multiplayer in 
BioShock 2. Bad news: It isn't co-op. 2K 
Marin will only confirm multiplayer's 
existence and wouldn't provide 
further details, although we 
did manage to discover 
that — scoop! — there's 
more than one 
multiplayer map. 
We've heard that 
a second, external 
studio is working 
on the online 
component, so at 
the very least it 
won't take away 
resources from 
2K Marin's single- 
player efforts. 
Now how about 
a "protect the 
Little Sister" 
mode...? 




w 

the 


hat would hurt worse, 
fire or the rotor? 

1 


2*-. 






i 


^ ~J 


- AJ rWt^m^^ 


■^** ^y^^S^H 


rrUrH t^J ' ^ m ~^^^^^. 


i^r— ^ * 5^^'^M 




£ 

^ 




[■' #• Cs"' 


w 


M ^ 




i>7*. \^ 




50 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



GOOD TRACK RECORD: In addition to BioShock's Fort Frolic area, Jordan Thomas was also 
responsible for Thief: Dark Shadows' crowning achievement: the Shalebridge Cradle level. 



ffM^V 



Jb 






^jwj 



^Pk\ : F" 



i&mm 






1 









£#. 



• 



fif* , 



$ 



'<* 



T 



e 






& 



1 



fc/y 



DISMISSIVE ATTITUDES AND DANGEROUS 
ASSUMPTIONS MAKE NON-GAMERS 



AS DESTRUCTIVE TO OUR HOBBY AS A 
CLUELESS CHIMP WITH A CHAINSAW. 

HERE'S 23 OF OUR PET PEEVES ABOUT 
IGNORANCE THAT YOU CAN HELP FIX. 




A 



or years, we've endured the criticism 
of people who just don't understand our 
hobby. "Gamers are immature. Gamers are 
immoral. Gamers are wasting time and money 
on silly, stupid toys." 

Nag nag nag. Blah blah blah. 

Now, with those same people snatching up Wiis 
and fumbling through Guitar Hero, suddenly they think 
they "get" this gaming thing. Don't get us wrong — 
we're thrilled to see people having fun with Scene It? 
and asking how DLC works. To those people, we say... 
jump in. But we still see just as many folks rolling 
their eyes as they pass the game aisle and smirking 
dismissively when we say we're looking forward to 
a weekend of nothing but Call of Duty. The ignorant 

fissumptions, the inane comments, the condescending 
one...it makes us want to scream. 

But you don't have to stand for their judgmental 
cluelessness. Here's a big honkin' list of wrongs that 
you have the power to set right. They don't know — but 
you can show them. In fact, read it out loud to them. 
Through a bullhorn. An inch from their face. 

ttl YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS. 
Parents, politicians, and pundits are constantly scolding 
kids for spending too much time with videogames. At 
the same time, however, they casually mock anyone 
who dares play as an adult. Which age group is being 
onsible again? Make up your mr Ae ! 

tt2 LOOK WHO'S TALKING. 
If you spend most days building kitten orphanages and 
serving hot soup to homeless unicorns, then yes, you 
can tell us that gaming is "a waste of time." If you sit on 
the couch instead — watching sports, voting for reality 
TV, or browsing celebrity-gossip blogs — then please 
look up "hypocrite" in the dictionary. continued on Pg . sn ► 



^A 



^ 



52 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



WE ARE NOT ALONE: Make room on the couch! in February, NPD released a study that 
showed a whopping 6 million new gamers entered the hobby in 2008. 



GET AWAY: Xenophobia is the fear of strangers or foreigners. Bally Midway riffed on the concept 
for its arcade alien shooter Xenophobe in 1987. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 53 



LOUD. DUMB. AND OUT Of- COffTKPl* 



tt3 CONTROL YOURSELF. 

That gamepad is not a rock and you 

Smashing the buttons with all your . 

your character any faster, stronger, or smarter. It will probably break 

our $50 piece of equipment, however, so knock it off. 



tt4 YES, THIS STUFF IS EXPENSIVE, 
sk you to take a step back from the HDTV, to w 
to-caked mitts, or to grab "the guest controller, 
every right. These are delicate tools. Don't get all ofi 
don't look at us like we're an -1 v f 1 



tt5 IT'S YOUR FAULT. 



tt6 QUIT QUOTING US OUT OF CONTEXT. 



of ourfrien 
tonight?" sti 



m "HALLO 3" FOR THE SONY Wll DOES NOT EXIST. 
It will never exist. When we patiently try to explain this to you, please don't blame us for 
your mixed information. Gamers have not organized themselves into a secret, worldwide 
conspiracy merelv to keep the best titles awav from vou. Mavbe vou're iust < 



tt8 SHUSH! 

don't like p 
singing over your f 

during a game's cutscene. The alien, the 
very important conversation... 





Wi,< 



tt9 iJ HEY r ARE YOU WINNING?!" 
this is an RPG with hundreds 
say... "Cool! How many points you got 

IO IF YOU SUCK, ADMIT YOU SUCK, 
jp the guitar. Step away from the drums. Let sc 
had your chance and you had your fun. Know when t 
dignity and goodwill intact. 

1 DUR DUR DUR DUR DUR. 
iah, bumping into us in the middle 
and messing with our controller is complt. 
the funniest thing ever. Ugh. 

ttKTIME OUT. 
Oops! Your clumsy finger 
hit the Guide button at the ve 

tt13 PLEASE DON'T PATRONIZE. 
Don't ask us what we're playing and what's go : 
know. Complete obliviousness would be prefe 
tter disintere 

tt14 NO, THIS ISN'T "THAT MARIO GAME." 

game ever made is not called Mario. Ditto for Pac-Man, Tetris, Doom, Myst, and Pong. 
We have not been playing the same thing for 25 years — except for when we're actually 
playing Pac-Man, Tetris, or Doom. Similarly, Gears of War is not Halo "with new guns" and 
Soulcalibur is not Street Fighter "with different graphics." continued on Pg . 56 ►► 



n ftcfe 




54 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



NOBODY SPECIAL: Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film The Outsiders was a flop, but it featured a 
cast full of soon-to-be-stars, including Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, and Patrick Swayze. 



LOUD. DUMB. AND OUT Of- COffTKPl* 



' 




#15 NAMES HAVE POWER. 

No, his name isn't "Zelda." It's Link. 

yes, of the New Hampshire Wars") an 

Sometimes videogames — like books, films, and television — are complex enougl 

contain characters with names separate from the title. Hard to believe, but 



#16 SCARED STUPID. 

e going to scream and run away each time an enemy fires a gun, swin 
punch, or makes the slightest noise, perhaps you should sample a hobby other 
videogames. We hear quilting is quite rewarding. 



#17 "WELL, THAT'S A GREAT THING TO TEACH CHILDREN.. 
How observant of you! Yes, these severed limbs, crushed skulls, and buckets of 
exploding blood are quite gory. Good thing the game is rated Mature and not mad 
minors, right? Right? 

#18 DO THE RESEARCH. 
Yes, games are full of foul language, awful violence, crude sexuality, and other mature 
situations. Protest all you like, but at least protest the right offenders for the right 
reasons. If Fox News had sent a single email or made one phone call to BioWare, they 
would've been informed that Mass Effect was not a sex simulator. Why is ignorance so 
-" eptable on this one — f '- ' ' 



#19 SAVE! 







mmm " WXBPXt 

MJmK SWVBSW CAM! SHOWS 



n HW-L&TI&AT (WZ THtiNG tQ FrikJUt out 



ecause constantly waicning you start your viva rmaiai 

5 killing us inside. And yes, we know you just want to run around punching people 
GTA, but maybe if you saved, you could eventually run around and punch people on a 
totally new island. Oh, and while we're on the subject... 



#20 HOLD THE EFF ON. 
Whatever you want from us, we can' 
You want to lose the last 45 minutes 



#21 LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF GAMING. 
A grace period for learning is understandable, of course — \ 
beginning, right? But if you can't muster enough patience to 
tutorial, don't whine when you forget the controls. Don't complain when you end up 
having a conversation with a clearly non-interactive crate instead of the glowing, 
obviously interactive computer right next to it. And exactly how many times do we have 
to remind you which screen is yours in a multiplayer match before you memorize that 
simple, binary piece of information? This isn't calculus. 

#22 GAMES AREN'T THAT IMMERSIVE. 
If you could refrain from physically ducking, dodging, 
single time a bullet is fired or a vehicle drives past th< 

like you "hear voices," and therefore, we might be willing to sit next to 

/you again. Rest assured that when the Holodeck is finally invented, you 
can flop and flounce around as much as your heart desi 




_ 



#23 DON'T BE AN ENABLER. 

By purchasing licensed dreck (and the 
sequels to licensed dreck) simply 
se you recognize the celebrity on 
le front of the box or it's $20 in the 
argain bin, you're pulling down the 
entire industry. Enter the Matrix sells 
millions while Okami sells thousands. 
Space Chimps and Are You Smarter 
Than a 5th Grader? get multi-platform 
releases, while Psychonauts is denied 
>ad or poorly informed taste. Buy good 



56 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



VIRTUAL VOMIT SYNDROME: Do you get queasy when playing first-person shooters? Try a 
shot of lemon juice. Others report that ginger helps; you can get capsules at health-food stores. 



«£4 



£<S 



■91 ■ 



s 



M 



58 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



BY ANY OTHER NAME: One of the working titles for Ridley Scott's original Alien (1979) was 
Star Beast. Sure glad that one got worked out. 



AtlENS vs. PREDATOR ©xeox 



It r s aff-ot(t waf between 
Aliens and Pf edc(toK 
With hMmans ^ajpjped 

.ifl [the iniiddje. 
Bi(t Wijj [the baltjejef iefd 
be [too t>)oody f oh 
Xbox i368? 



Pfctfohn: XBO)C^ S 
Pub lisher: SEGA 
iWJrt^ REBELLION 
Live/Mutel y^ YES - 

Release Pife ? RlB 

Fct Fans Of: Sci-fi blood feuds, 

boundaryjpushing ggte fritee-vjays 



As the old sports adage goes, you're only as 
good as your last game. Same rule applies 
L in gaming: No matter how impressive your 
m reputation or the quality of your past 
f glories, if your last title was a steaming 
heap, that's what people will expect from the 
r next one. And while Rebellion is one of Britain's 

most profitable developers, its last game, 
Shellshock2: Blood Trails, was about as much fun 
as contracting botulism. So when Sega announced 
that the studio was revisiting its classic Aliens vs. 
Predator PC franchise on Xbox 360, we'll admit to 
being excited about the revival but skeptical about 
the potential quality of the game itself. 

Rebellion knows this; in fact, the studio is a bit 
embarrassed. "Shellshock2 was a very difficult 
project that we inherited when we took over the 
Derby [UK] studio of Core Design," admits company 
CEO Jason Kingsley. "It was well on the way to 
being halfway done. And yeah, not our proudest 
moment. I think it was aiming really high from a 
creative perspective. I think it missed its objectives 
completely in a lot of ways. It was difficult; it was 
very difficult." 

But with that refreshingly candid confession, 
Rebellion has something to prove with the return to 
its most famous series — and to quality. We had a 
chance to take a tantalizing look at the Predator's 
campaign, and within a moment all memories >■ 

of mutant zombie Vietcong and "sexy" soldier 
women in hotpants vanished, replaced by giddy 
fanboy excitement and a flood of fond memories. 



O 
00 






00 

LiJ 
Q 



QJ 

3d 

ro 

o 



00 
Q 

O 







BY ANY OTHER OTHER NAME: 1987's Predator had even more working titles, including 
Primeval and the now-appropriate Alien Hunter. 



June i 



vww.oxmonline.com / OFFIC 







3H 



Ha 



* 






THE HUNT 
IS ON 



r 



That's not to say the warm glow is 
entirely fueled by nostalgia; this isn't 
just a total rehash of the late-'9os PC 
game. Rebellion has gone back and 
looked at how it should feel to play as a 
Predator, using the first film as its prime 
inspiration. A Predator doesn't trundle 
around like your standard FPS grunt — he 
leaps between tree branches and ledges, 
sizing up an attack from above using his 
various vision modes. Rebellion was excited 
to include this element as a crucial part of the 
Predator's movement, and the team settled on 
a system that allows you to lock onto nearby 
ledges and tree branches and automatically leap 
between them. No clumsy platforming or toppling 
from treetops here — just fast, stylish stalking. 
We weren't able to get our hands on it (after all, 
the game likely won't ship until 2010), but the 
"focus jumping" mechanic looks both efficient 
and intuitive even in this early state. The original 
AvP was always about threats coming from every 
possible angle, and finally the Predator is able to 
take full advantage of the environment as well. 

THE HUMAN ELEMENT 

Of course, the violent relationship between 
these three warring species works only if there's 
balance, and simply hanging around in the 
treetops isn't going to keep you safe. Aliens are 
capable killers, and they'll clamber along the 
underside of the same branches and ledges 
that the Predators rely on. Similarly, if a 
Predator reveals himself too hastily 
while stalking a squad of human 
foes, the Marines' strength 
in numbers and instant- A 

response ranged weaponry 
will turn him into bright 
green burger-meat. 
Now, a unit of 
Marines cautiously 
works its way 
through a jungle 
on a distant colony 
planet; we watch from 
beneath the lid of the 
Predator stalking 

them. The iconic 
^^ heat-vision 
mode is 
back 



M 



Aliens afe enable 
safte ledges Jte 



ALIENS vs. PREDATOR ©xeox 



it 



! v:i 



Ttehs afe so many ways to die -in Avf 
you tnigflt not see 



A 



'■' 



^\ 



// 



'.*?™*ifc^^ 



Marines come exUfrefoety heavily alined — 
caff •£ "se^er- pr-ejpower-." 



Rebefjion waffts .the 
P,f edafof |to f eej ftohe 
1moVfie--ai(theftClc 
Ith'is lEffte abound. 



yr 



W 



m 



',1,;.;.; 









Be grateful .'if ftiis p ' 
|Che jast Ith'ifig you see. 
At least you know Jit'tl be quick 



A A P^edc^toKs wfoWlades cap execute .trelrhifyirig ^o|phy Ms. 



60 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



DARKER DAYS: Ridley Scott's intended ending to Alien was to have the monster bite off Ripley's 
head, then radio back to Earth in hervoice, announcingthe Nostromo's return. Fox said no. 



THE BIG MAN: The late Kevin Peter Hall played the title character in Predator and Predator 2. 
At 7 feet, 2 inches tall, he also played Harry in Harry and the Hendersons. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 61 



"2- 



'wo enemies a^eady engaged? You can sit anc 
watch, o!F pvp :in to cause ftor-e {pain. 



NP* 



Aliens swarm fike .'insects. Then 
again, so does a Maine's 
'«» t ' " * ahftnurtfeion. 



(along with its counterparts 
for detecting Aliens and other 
Predators), allowing us to keep 
an eye on the Marines' steady 
progress through the area. One of 
the more convenient ways to pick off 
the troops is by using the Predator's 
shoulder-mounted plasma cannon, 
which locks onto enemies more quickly in 
the relevant vision mode. The other option 
is to dive in, using the Predator's lunging 
attack, and get your wristblades dirty. (In the 
final game, the Predator will have a full arsenal 
of weaponry; we're guessing — hoping? — we'll 
see the return of the glaive-like disc and a spear 
gun for stapling enemies to walls, although 
neither's confirmed at this point.) 



GORE GALORE 






As |the Pr-edatohyou"f| ajways 
have a stea|th advantage 
against jj|as|HiaH)y Marines. 



ad s,you win; ^you lose. Unless^ 
, Mien ^il-in Which case, you lose and ,it 
hurts like he]]. ,■ 



In spite of all the Predator's toys, it was the up- 
close wristblade combat that provided the biggest 
surprise of the day. You see, in the films, Predators 
have a tendency to keep the skulls of their slain 
prey, and in AvP the Predator has an animated 
"trophy kill" that is genuinely one of the most 
spectacularly violent sequences we've ever seen in 
a game — and we've played a lot of games. 

As the kill was initiated, a terrified Marine was 
hauled up into the middle of the screen by his 
throat. The unfortunate victim's struggling lasted 
a half-second or so before the Predator's scaly 
hands twisted his neck, accompanied by a crunch 
like that of raw celery, popping his head off like 
the lid of a Pringles tube. Naturally, a sizeable 
portion of the hapless grunt's spine followed, 
and, as the Predator drew the head back down 
to inspect it, we realized that the Marine was 
still rolling his eyes and gasping his last, 
with nothing but bloodied, glistening 
vertebrae beneath his chin. Cue an intake 
of breath from us that was clearly audible 
even above Rebellion's weapons-grade 
sound system. 

Now, we're not tremendously 
squeamish when it comes to virtual 
viscera, but this was several 
measures more graphic than 
anything we've seen recently — 
so much so that we'd wager 
it'll be cut from the final 
game to avoid an Adults 
Only rating in the U.S. 
"The trophy kills 
are a 
big 






MARINE 



characte? perspective. You can also lookforward 
into meaty chunks). 






V-'Vr 



AtlENS vs. PREDATOR ©xeox 



MEET THE CAST 



■*- 



t 



w 



si****' % > 



|\ 



L4J 



ti#l 



PREDATOR ^ 



The Predator's a technical and powerful stealth character; 
now that he's able to leap through the treetops, he handles 
much more like the creature in the film than in previous 
games. Key to the Predator's technical advantage are his 
vision modes, which allow him to quickly identify relevant 
prey. The challenge will be in firefights where both Aliens and 
Marines are present, because using the wrong vision mode 
renders the other enemy type almost invisible and makes 
weapon-locks difficult. Prioritizing the right targets is going 
to be key. 

One element that hasn't been decided on is how to limit 
the usage of more powerful weaponry. The Predator is loaded 
with technology and stacked with hit-points, and previous 
games introduced an honor system to prevent their overuse. 
Rebellion appears to have settled on an energy system, 
recharged by trophy kills, but as yet it's unclear which parts of 
the Predator's arsenal this will apply to and what the energy 
hit will be for each. 



AtlEK 



Using this character will force players to get in dose to their 
quarry, as the Alien's primary methods of attack are claws 
Stand teeth. A key part of the fiction is that the bugs skulk 
around in the shadows and rely on senses other than sight 
to detect their enemies (which is why the Predator s .d*k 
doesn't work on them), so we're expecting foes to be It up by 
a shiny halo effect as they were in the PC game. This coup ed 
with the Aliens' black color, means players should be able to 
use the darkness to their advantage. 

Crucially, players will be able to climb on every solid 
surface in the game, although the Alien movement speed 
is much slower than it used to be, which might encourage 
neakier play rather than blitz tactics. Rebellion is toying with 
"eluding a mode that brings the Aliens back to their original, 
often disorientating pace, something that we're , eager 1 1 see, 
perhaps tied to the difficulty level. Certainly nothing , was 
creepier in the PC game than playing as a Marine and seeing a 
brief flash of a scuttling monster from the corner of your eye! 



1 E7 



62 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



ARMY OF SIX: Despite the appearance of hundreds of enemy creatures in James Cameron's 
Aliens, only six costumes were created. Let's hear it for clever editing! 



LITERARY LIFTING: Both Men and Aliens borrow names of their places and spaceships from 
various Joseph Conrad novels, including "Nostromo," "Narcissus," and "Sulaco." 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 63 



PREDATOR Oxeox 



"thete can be only one!' 









debate," Kingsley tells us. 
"This game is obviously based 
on R-rated movies, and we want to 
make sure it's very clearly a Mature- 
y rated game. 

"Some games are for kids, but we're 
not making this game for anyone other 
than adults. That's very clear, and within 
that context, I thinkthe violence is part of the 
character and the world — we're talking about 
a fantasy world here and fantasy creatures, and 
about trying to build up a mythos. I remember 
the first time I saw one of the particular Predator 
kills, everybody went, 'Oooh' — but it's what 
the Predator does in the movies." Extreme, 
but accurate. 



ACID TEST 




F.r-ank"|y, ,trie AvP franchise .isn't even keying .588. 
Dig .'into [the histolry of [this corrfjiqt catefujjy... 



I I M I S 
PIMlfll 



Aliens vs. Pteda,to.h 



Rebellion takes a great idea 
and makes it better, with the 
added horsepower and larger 




Alien vs. Pteda,to.h 



Unfortunately, the first AvP film 
was hardly the glorious union 
of the two species on celluloid 



audience of the PC. This is the 
ill be attempting — 



to replicate, and it's genuinely one of the scariest 
games we've ever played. If the new game is 



that we'd hoped for. Despite 
consulting with Rebellion, the filmmakers came up 




St jpellnap and 



Bffltaan vs. 



and ffiedqtcfr 



/(Cojmic) 



Okay, this is just getting ludicrous now. Superman 




with an action film that was roundly criticized by 
the film press. Why not just do a straight rip of the 
original comics? 



I Batman discover a crashed Predator ship in 
the Andes that had failed to escape the Earth's 



gravitational pull (making it a pretty lousy 
spaceship). Supes and Bats persuade the Predators 



to leave our planet and...oh, it's just nonsense. 
Prete n d it does n 't exist. — 



A|iens vs. Pfeda,to.h 



A|iens vs. Pf eda,to.h 



Requieft 



If the first film was ropey, the 



second ( 



mess. Too dark, terrible jumpy action sequences, 
and characters that were made entirely from — 
cardboard. It's been the worst-performing of the 



Alien and Predator movies, but it still made back its 
budget and plenty more. 



64 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



BEST BAD LINE: Lance Henriksen plays Weyland in 2004's Alien vs. Predator movie. While 
staring at a 3D render of a pyramid, he says, "My experts tell me it's a pyramid." 



CASH FOR CRAP: Despite poor reviews, 2004's Alien vs. Predator film and its 2007 sequel 
(AvP Requiem) made close to $300 million combined at the box office worldwide. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 65 



Qxbox 




Words: Corey Cohen, Paul Curthoys, and Dan Amrich • Design: Juliann Brown 




■mX 


FEEDING FRENZY 2 




\F&£6 


* >M 4 


' 





really oJtA©£t -Four 

years, oU? U\^ oy\v/ "ty^, 

its -Toll o-F proTAis^ — bot it W 

S>ot*\& growing vp to cio, too. X©iv\ 

os as vte ^/plons XBuAs (Ac\^y 

SU£.£^SSsS...(W\<i t\\s £\\<W\gsS it 
v\&&£<> to \£^^p growing Strong. 



the early days of Live Arcade, 
when it hosted a couple dozen coin-op 
ports, a few puzzle games.. .and little else? We can 
barely remember that time either. And there's a reason 
for that. Since its Xbox 360 relaunch on November 22, 
2005, Xbox Live Arcade has slowly evolved into a little 
giant, amassing a 200-game lineup that spans all sorts of 
genres, studios, and audiences. 

It's come a long way in a few years, to be sure. But even 
with a big catalog and some serious blockbusters — Uno, 
Geometry Wars, Castle Crashers — XBLA has plenty of room 
for improvement. With some small but fundamental tweaks, 
we think it could go from really-cool extra to big-time 
system-seller. And we'll tell you how. 

Read on for a list of Live Arcade's success stories — fol- 
lowed by our to-do list for rejuvenating XBLA. Hopefully, the 
lords at Microsoft are listening. 



SLEEPER SELLS: The XBLA Games You Should Be Playing 




OXM's Highest-Scoring XBLA Games 



1. BRAID 9.0 


5. PEGGLE DELUXE 9.5 


9. SUPER STREET FIGHTER II TURBO 


2. GEOMETRY WARS: RETRO EVOLVED 2 9.0 


6. POKER SMASH 9.0 


HD REMIX 9.0 


3. HEXIC HD 9.0 


7. PORTAL: STILL ALIVE 9.0 


10. UNDERTOW 9.0 


4. A KINGDOM FOR KEFLINGS 9.0 


8. STREET FIGHTER II' HYPER FIGHTING 9.0 


11. WITS & WAGERS 9.0 



ACES OF THE GALAXY 

When we're in a big, bad spaceship, we don't want to explore nebulae; we 
want to kick some intergalactic ass. And Aces lets us, from the cockpit of a 
fast-action fighter that darts swiftly across the screen, spewing an endless 
stream of ammo. With asteroids to dodge and waves of enemies to annihilate, 
you'll almost forget you're on rails. Smack-talking aliens ("Human worm!") 
and a sort of cosmic bullet-time help keep the action fresh, fun, and non-stop. 

ASTR0P0P 

Astropop is an "homage" to (read: stone-cold ripoff of) the forgotten Neo- 
Geo title Magical Drop. Instead of dropping blocks, you pull them from the 
ceiling and throw them back in groups to match and remove them. Think 
Tetris mixed with Bust-A-Move, plus a super-attack that nukes the screen 
and gets you out of tough scrapes. Four characters with "supa weapons" are 
yours to unlock, and now that we have nice arcade sticks from Hori and Mad 
Catz, you can get that old Neo-Geo feel. 

CATAN 

Yes, there is a steep learning curve to this deep, masterful board game. But 
there's also a great tutorial and rich rewards for developing even basic compe- 



tence. Essentially, you're battling opponents for resources to build up cities, 
but the level of trickery, deviousness, and canny strategy that you can deploy 
kept us up until many a wee hour achieving world domination^. If you're the 
type of gamer where the tagline "mindless" is a turn-off, you gotta try Cafan. 

COMMANDERS: ATTACK OF THE GEN0S 

Advance Wars was a huge hit on Game Boy Advance — yet this cheeky clone 
on XBLA sank like a stone. Why? It has a cute tongue-in-cheek style, some 
bouncy '40s jazz, and retro sci-fi Art Deco tanks and spider-walkers. The 
production values are humble but clean, and the turn-based gameplay is a 
pretty good way to mellow out while still blowing stuff up. With a campaign, 
skirmishes, and both online and four-player couch play, there's a lot to like. 

FEEDING FRENZY 2 

Sequels are a risky business on XBLA: Geometry Wars 2 sold like gang- 
busters, but games like Mutant Storm Empire and Assault Heroes 2 seem to 
have been ignored. In the case of Feeding Frenzy 2, the sleeper is a whale of a 
catch — this 2D eat-'em-up looks loads better than its predecessor and adds 
co-op and party modes (which, sadly, aren't playable over Live). More impor- 
tantly, it sports the same addictive, fluid, fish-chomping fun. continued on P g. 68 > 



66 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



TRULY LOST: Lost Cities isn't on our list because this engrossing card game (OXM score: 8.5) is no 
longer on XBLA. When Vivendi merged with Activision, the LC license reverted back to the licensor. 



OH, AND: If you bought an Xbox 360 Arcade console (i.e., no hard drive, meaning no Hexic HD pre- 
installed), then this game is also one you should be playing. Yet another reason to buy a hard drive... 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 67 



0xeo> 



Coin OppsjT 



SLEEPER SELLS: The XBLA Games You Should Be Playing 



The Highest- 
Selling 
XBLA GAMES 

(By Copies Sold) 



UNO 1,428,589 

TEXAS HOLD 'EM* 910,406 



UNDERTOW* 837,322 

GEOMETRY WARS: RETRO EVOLVED 753,922 

WORMS HP 616,306 

CASTLE CRASHERS 553,655 

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 545,198 



CARCASSONNE* 537,464 

BANKSHOT BILLIARDS 2 519,243 

STREET FIGHTER II' HYPER FIGHTING 

508,867 

*N0TE: These three games were all made 
available as free downloads for a period of time. 
Source: VGChartz.com; stats through 2/28/09 



GAUNTLET 

What? A straight-up coin-op port, minus 
major enhancements? You betcha. Gauntlet 
graced XBLA early on, and like Smash TV, 
it fit the 360 perfectly with Live support al- 
lowing online multiplayer you just couldn't 
get in the good ol' arcade. Up to four 
players battling through 100 dungeons 
is still surprisingly fun, as you face 
hordes of ghosts and wizards and work 
together to navigate tricky labyrinths 
(all while offering bad impressions of the 
announcer intoning, "Warrior needs food, 
badly!"). If you've got a buddy or three with 
an itch for old-time hack-and-slash, it's a 
$5 beauty. 

JEWEL QUEST 

Dink-dink-dink-dink— bloop! Oh, how we love the magical 
sounds of this matching-shapes puzzler, another very early XBLA 
game. Similar to Bejeweled but more hectic, Jewel Quest hits you 
with screen after screen of gem-pairing mania, daringyou to keep 
your cool as the clock ticks down. Charmingly, the game's music 
and backstory embrace its Mayan theme, making the whole 
package an archaeological wonder worth exploring 

MUTANT STORM EMPIRE 

There's no shortage of shooters that ape Geometry 
Wars' twin-stick mechanic, and this second 
Mutant Storm definitely does it well. But where 
it really delivers is in sheer variety and visual 
interest. The whole game isn't set in a fixed 
space; instead, finishing a stage scrolls you 
into a new, different playfield where you'll 
battle new and weirder monstrosities, 
including mammoth slugs, giant cannons, 
UFOs, and other ruthless beasties. With 
five difficulty levels, there's challenge for 
all, and playing in co-op mode is intense. 



PENNY ARCADE 
ADVENTURES, EPISODE ONE 





4<& 


( 


SCHIZOID ^ *-"®k-L 


;,,.. 


IAS* 114 


.*IA * * 


'. '- , ifcji « 'Mi- 5 *" 





OUTPOST KALOKI X 

Think Halo Wars is accessible? This liber-cute strat- 
egy/tycoon game has it beat with pared-down play 
that's amazingly easy to learn but deceptively deep. 
As the manager of a fictional space station, you'll build 
new stores (bars, video arcades) to please visiting voy- 
agers, while maintaining power plants and other key 
facilities — and even fending off incoming meteors 
and invaders! Catchy music and goofy plotlines are 
a definite bonus, and if you enjoy the main game, 
you'll love its DLC missions, too. 

PENNY ARCADE ADVENTURES: ON 
THE RAIN-SLICK PRECIPICE OF 
DARKNESS, EPISODE ONE 

Point-and-click adventures are not dead! Witness 
this old-style entry featuring Gabe and Tycho 
from the popular webcomic. The first installment 
n this episodic series is super-well-written (by 
Tycho), with all kinds of hilarious gags and dialogue- 
tree conversations that revolve around your hunt for a 
fruit-loving 50-foot-tall robot (and let's just say it's a carnal 
love, and the game is rated M). The gameworld is crammed full 
of clickable objects, and even the RPG-style combat is engag- 
ng. Hey — did that clown flip us off before he died? 

R00G00 

Remember Perfection, that board game where you had 
to match triangles, squares, and other shapes to 
corresponding holes? Roogoo translates it into a 
uniquely captivating XBLA experience, where you 
try to guide shapes from the top of the screen 
to the bottom while pesky alien Meemoo 
(hey, it's always somebody) try to block 
your path. Simple controls and a great 
premise mean big fun, and for added 
kicks, you can join pals for Party 
Play. Either way, it's awfully hard 
to put down. 



SCHIZOID 

In many ways, Schizoid does exactly what XBLA should do: showcase nifty 
new ideas, nimbly executed, at a budget price. The game asks one player 
to control a red ship, while the other (A.I. or human) controls a blue ship; 
touching enemy ships of your color destroys them, while hitting opposite- 
colored ships destroys you. It's a simple concept put to marvelous use, as 
you frantically dodge and dart through enemy-filled mazes. Bonus: an ador- 
ably insane UberSchizoid mode where a single player controls both ships at 
once — one perthumbstick! 

SWITCHBALL 

You've already played games where you roll a marble through 3D mazes, but 
Switchball is no Marble Madness or even Marble Blast Ultra. It's much more 
puzzle-based. Navigating tricky (and gorgeously rendered) levels, you'll use 
a metal ball to nudge crates; shift to a helium ball to float up to a platform; 
and become a giant ball to roll down a ramp. It's light and fanciful, while 
tapping your grey matter in all the right ways as you solve clever conun- 
drums and avoid electrical shocks and other dangers. Roll on. 

SOLTRIO SOLITAIRE 

This one's purely for solitaire fanatics, but if that includes you — and hey, 
there's no shame if it does — you're going to be stoked. No more Freecell 
on your PC; these 18 variants will keep you busy for a millennium, bolstered 
by a quest mode that rewards you by letting you customize the card design. 
Breaking the very nature of the game, Soltrio offers some interesting 
multiplayer, too, with both competitive bouts (solve your stack first) and a 
cooperative mode where you work together. We've been playing this game 
for ages. 

WITS & WAGERS 

Some of us were skeptical at first glance: the presentation and production 
values are modest, to say the least, and you'll either love or hate the big 
flowers, animals, and people-costumes that frame your onscreen photo. 
We found them amusing; what we really love is the gameplay, which hits 
you with trivia questions about movies, geography, and such — and after 
everyone makes their guess, you all wager on the accuracy of each other's 
answers. It's a brilliant mix of trivia and gambling, and against human op- 
ponents (rather than shifty A.I. foes), it's a LOL-rich riot. 

continued on pg. 70 



What the Experts Love 

1 f — 1 n u ^^ 

We asked a few prominent Arcade developers to talk up their favorite 
XBLA gem — a sleeper not made by their studio. Here's what the 
pros are playing: 



PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION is one of my favorite games 
released in the last few years. It brilliantly takes the classic Pac-Man 
gameplay and revitalizes it with modern design sensibilities....! play a 
lot of games, but always find myself returning to this one because it's 
just pure fun. 

— DONALD MUSTARD, Creative Director, Chair Ent. Group 

GRIPSHIFT appears to have slipped under the radar. It's more than a 
simple racing game: each track offers multiple goals, and accomplish- 
ing each goal requires a very different strategy. Not only did I find 
myself replaying each track many times, but reaching each goal was a 
very different experience. 

- BRENT FOX, Art Director, NinjaBee 

SPACE GIRAFFE is probably not so much overlooked as it is infamous. 
Sure, it doesn't do itself any favors by being unintuitive as all get-out 
(the tutorial doesn't cut it), but there is a fun, unique experience to be 
had if you're willing to dig. Just stick with it, and don't forget to leave 
your notions about what the game should be at the door. 

- JEREMY THROCKMORTON, Lead Designer, NinjaBee 



My favorite XBLA game is the not-such-a-sleeper BRAID, because A-ha! 
moments are my favorite thing in single-player games, and Braid has 
more A-ha! moments per ounce than any game I can think of. And it 
doesn't patronize you: no hand-holding, no "You Have to Burn the 
Rope." And David Hellman's art is breathtaking. 

— JAMIE FRISTROM, Technical Director, Torpex Games 



68 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



USE YOUR ALLUSION: Didn't get Jamie Fristrom's "Burn the Rope" reference in the "Experts" 
sidebar (next page)? Play the mini-game at tinyurl.com/oxm-burntherope and you'll understand. 



MORE EXPERT ENTHUSIASM: Both Greg Canessa (PopCap's VP of videogame platforms) and 
Steve Taylor (NinjaBee's president) told us Schizoid is their XBLA sleeper-of-choice. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 69 



0xeo> 



Coin OppsjT 



WHAT XBOX LIVE ARCADE CAN DO BETTER 

A/\ci i+ viill b<s...i-f N/Vi^roSo-f-t -fblloyis oor Voi^bly o-T-fene^ plow -Tor gr<sortv\<ess. 

We'll be the first to rain the love down on Xbox Live Arcade. Some of our favorite multiplayer games live there (hi, Pegglel), and we dig 
the Board Game Renaissance that's in full swing these days (Scrabble, you look purdy snuggled up next to Catanl). Retro games are 
being rebuilt and reinvented for Arcade, not just ported and dumped. R-Type Dimensions, Lode Runner, and Space Invaders Extreme are 
beautiful steps in the right direction of improving on nostalgia, not just appreciating or vaguely remembering it. 

But yeah, we want more. And it's just not just because we're greedy like that; it's because Arcade can and should be so much more. 
If you think about it, XBLA is Steam for your Xbox 360: downloadable awesomeness, no disc required. Or at least, that's the theory. 
Its paradigm-shifting potential has been obvious since the 360 launched, but only infrequently has Arcade lived up to it. If we were its 
teacher, we'd give it some words of encouragement.. .and then some stick. Since we were nice just a paragraph ago, here's that stick: 





WHERE ARE THE BRAID TV ADS? 1- TAKE CREATIVE RISKS! 

A lot, not just the sometimes that games like Braid and Schizoid 
represent! Without all the manufacturing and distribution costs that 
a $60 Xbox 360 game entails, XBLA should be a fertile breeding ground 
for innovation. Sometimes it is, but not often enough. Honestly, Sony's 
PlayStation Network does this better and more often — who else is jealous 
as hell of World of Goo, Flower, and Everyday Shooter? Instead, we here at 
OXM really, truly have a running office joke about how most Arcade games 
score a 7.0. Not because we're scoring-impaired, but because XBLA is get- 
ting by on way too much "good enough" and "it's alright," and not nearly 
enough "groundbreaking" and "great." 

Microsoft should fervently and frequently support indie developers 
doing awe-inspiring and crazy new things. Some of them will belly-flop 
harder than a portly game-mag editor stumbling off a diving board, but 
some of them will do wondrous things. And those things will pay off a 
year or two later in fancy $60 games that do those grand new things 
commercially and sell by the millions. The best stuff in life was invented 
in someone's garage, not a corporate test lab. Supporting that with way 
more than the baby step that Community Games represents will win 
gigantic dividends. 

2. UPGRADE COMMUNITY GAMES 

Speaking of which, this segment of the 360 
dashboard is looking more and more like a 
student-project ghetto than an XBLA farm 
team. That's not nothing; people need to 
learn, and Community Games has some 
genuinely interesting work amid all its 
white-noise clutter. But this league is 
too minor. Many Community Games are 
built with the Achievements system in 
mind, but they don't get to implement 
them. If it looks like a duck and walks 
like a duck... 

More than that, the best Com- 
munity Games should be made 
into a much bigger part of the Xbox 
Live ecosystem. Help the truly pro 
creations with upgrades; reward 
the folks who have brilliant ideas 
by helping them develop the level 
of polish and proficiency that'll 
make them succeed. Essentially, 
build a deluxe layer into Com- 
munity Games. Microsoft would earn 
such an investment back in spades, and 
becoming the hotbed of smart young 
talent would hardly suck. 






■■.■',' 'VI' ,. c- 



KfHfr 




3. MAKE PRICING MORE AGGRESSIVE AND FLUID 

Basically, XBLA should price aggressively and wisely, the way retail stores 
do (and are doing even more in this recession). Microsoft has dabbled in 
this a bit with lowered prices and weeklong specials, but it's nowhere near 
as aggressive as it should be. 

Why not make price drops much more frequent? Or do "buy two games, 
get a third game free" deals? Or make games that've tanked for a fair amount 
of time (that's you, Roogoo and Crazy Mouse) either super-cheap or free with 
the purchase of other games? Giving customers a bigger perception that 
they're getting a bargain or a bonus would boost sales — and popularity. 

4. RETRO DOESN'T MEAN ANCIENT 

Enough '80s retro; now we want '90s retro. Duke Nukem 3D should be 
the first of many. How about Descent, Myst, and The /th Guest next? Or 
Bungie's groundbreaking Myth RTS games? Or Thief or X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter 
or...crap, this list could go on longer than the phone book. Which, honestly, 
is the point — there's some seriously ripe, low-hanging fruit out there in the 
recent past that y'all need to start picking! 

5. SCREW THE SIZE CAP 

Watchmen: The End Is Nigh was a hefty 1GB download, and it was nowhere 
near the greatest new XBLA game. Still, plenty of people waited while it 
dribbled down to their 360. We'll take massive downloads for top-notch 
product. Quality matters more than download time, especially when you can 
queue up your downloads from the web at work, flick on your 360 when you 
get home, and do other things while the boring part takes care of itself. 

6. MARKET XBLA M0RE...L0TS MORE 

This is probably one of the most important points, but we suck at math, 
so that's why it's last in our list. If you tell people about XBLA only on the 
dashboard and in the occasional press release, you're reaching only hard- 
core gamers like us. We're flattered and all, but there are way more folks 
out there playing games, and roping them in only means better things for 
all of us. Tell people about Arcade with an actual ad campaign; trumpet it 
as something you can get only on 360. You don't even have to slam Sony — 
XBLA is solid and deserves more marketing love for everything it does right. 

And, urn, thanks. That's all we got. But we'd love to hear your ideas on 
how to make Arcade be all it can be. Send your missives to letters@official 
xboxmagazine.com with the subject line "What XBLA Can Do Better," and 
we'll print the best stuff in an upcoming issue. • 




70 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



MODELS OF RESTRAINT: This is our second manifesto on bettering XBLA. Checkout our first, 
replete with awesome game ideas (thanks, us!) that we still want to play, at tinyurl.com/oxm-xbla. 



GO PRIMETIME: This article was written before any details of the spring rollout of Primetime were 
unveiled. Here's hoping Microsoft knocks it out of the park... 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 71 



Qxbox 




NEXT MONTH: We're planning (but not promising!) to review Fuel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
Virtua Tennis 2009, Damnation, and a bunch more. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 73 




► The mo-capped Metallica models 
are the best and most realistic that 
the Guitar Hero series has seen yet. 



Guitar Hero: Metallica #) 

Obey...your... master! 



Most great musical acts have ups 
and downs throughout their career — 
Metallica included (hello, St. Angeri). 
And one recent look at a store shelf 
might lead you to believe that Guitar Hero — with 
three Xbox 360 releases in the past nine months 




► This is a small taste of Expert + drum difficulty... 
and about three seconds before we failed. 



and another on the way in June — has reached 
Nickelback-ian levels of oversaturation. But after 
heading out on tour with our plastic axes once 
again, we found that Guitar Hero: Metallica is the 
series' best entry since Neversoft grabbed GH's 
reins — an achievement made only greater by the 
metal-heavy setlist's design challenges. 

First things first: these songs are 
simply fun. With Metallica perennially at 
the top of fans' most-wanted lists in both 
Guitar Hero and Rock Band, Neversoft 
delivers a balanced, impressive roster of 
tunes that spans the band's entire career. 
From 1983's "Hit the Lights" to 2008's 
"All Nightmare Long," Metallica's catalog 
is impeccably suited to the Guitar Hero 
format. From solo-crazy, turbo-strumming 
songs like "Whiplash" to more melodic 
pieces like "Fade to Black," the guitar parts 
simply make you feel awesome, while the 



instrumental "Orion" highlights a bass career that 
is anything but an afterthought. Vocals, too, are a 
treat, highlighted by howling the chorus to what 
used to be the holy grail of music-game songs: 
"Master of Puppets." 

Drums, meanwhile, are an adrenaline- 
fueled kinetic rush, aided by the new "Expert +" 
difficulty that adds support for a second bass 
pedal (available for $20). Regrettably, though, 
only top-tier players will get any real use out of 
the feature, as most songs — even on standard 
Expert — don't benefit from the second pedal. 

It's Metallica's underlying design that is the 
hero of the day, however. For starters, Neversoft 
has finally mastered the difficulty curve. A far cry 
from the torturous days of Guitar Hero Ill's Hard 
setting, the songs here are a treat on any skill 
level. Better, though, is how the career mode 
is structured. It's star-based, meaning you'll 
unlock new venues and blocks of songs at certain 



► You'll see your custom-created character 
when you play as one of the guest acts; 
highlights include Queen's "Stone Cold 
Crazy" and Foo Fighters' "Stacked Actors." 

star milestones. Smartly, you can actually earn 
enough stars to finish the career mode without 
playing any of Metallica's earliest, shreddiest, 
most brutal stuff, simply by plowing through 
lower-tier tunes. And laudably, every song is 
also unlocked straight out of the box in Quick 
Play mode, so you can always skip straight to 
whatever personal favorite tune you want to play. 

Fan-service touches like behind-the- 
scenes videos and VHi Pop-Up Wdeo-esque 
"Metallifacts" segments for nearly every single 
song only add to the Metallica-ness of the 
package. And while an in-song star-progression 
meter may be stolen from Rock Band, it's 
nevertheless greatly appreciated (and overdue). 

Not many bands have a catalog that could 
pull off as compelling a $60 package as this, but 
Metallica certainly does. And as long as this kind 
of care and craft keeps going into Guitar Hero, it 
won't be jumping any sharks anytime soon. 

— Ryan McCaffrey 










THE VERDICT 






ON XBOX 360 




+ Fun, balanced note charts 
honed for every skill level. 

+ Numerous fan-service extras. 

- Extra kick pedal almost 
worthless except on Expert +. 

? What, no extra DLC song 
packs? And no Metallica 
version of "Turn the Page"? 


OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 




8.5 


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 




0XBOX 



1 


. 




MS( \T • 








*m* 




W 




■n" , 




■T 1 '' 








•W 













Boggle 

Shake it...uh...Mr. Potato Head! 



As May's installment in the 
Hasbro Family Game Night 
series on Arcade, Boggle 
does exactly what we hoped it would — 
deliver fast doses of brainy, no-frills 
fun. Sure, shelling out another $10 to 
support a $70 seven-game collection 
that's available on Wii in identical form 
for $40 feels like succumbing to brutal 
corporate pillaging...but sometimes our 
moral convictions crumble when faced 
with our favorite old board games. 

If you can relate, Boggle won't let you 
down. Yes, the Family Game Night interface is 
still way too chirpy and hyperkinetic, but once 
you shoulder through it, the word-searching 
works just fine. Along with playing by the old- 
school rules, you can turn on Advanced mode, 
which flops letters around every time someone 
completes a word. It's harder, more hectic, 
and loads more fun to hose your friends when 
they're in the middle of trying to finish out a 
word. And that makes Boggle's speedy rounds 
perfect for quick doses of multiplayer. Unless 
you can't spell. 

— Paul Curthoys 




Only cheaters like Dan need to use the 
hint at the bottom of the screen, which 
points you at the longest remaining word. 



THE VERDICT 



ON XBOX LIVE ARCADE 



Fun, competent port of the 
board game. 

Short, intense multiplayer. 
Must return to the front end to 
change game types. 
Who else feels like the 
interface needs to take a deep 
breath and chill out? 



70 



I I I I I I I I ED 



There's no "sorry" in shufflepuck 



:::::::::: You don't have to like board 

:::::::::: games, Hasbro, or even 

:::::::::: other human beings to enjoy ™*> 

Sorry Sliders. All you really need is 

the urge to flick a thumbstick. Play a 

few games, and you'll gradually figure 

out just how much force you need to 

land your Sorry peg on the desired 

point value in the center — or to slam 

into a rival peg, launching it off the 

gameboard. Like real shufflepuck or 

even croquet, it's an energetic mix of strategy 

and some occasional violence. 

Sliders really needs better onscreen 
instructions, and we hate how changing rule- 
sets sends you back to the menu screen — 
issues that plague the other Family Game 
Night titles as well. And though the control is 
good, it's not great. But Sliders compensates 
with stupid-fun multiplayer, where up to four 
players (and/or A.I. stand-ins) can duel locally 




or over Live. It also packs some entertaining 
modes and options, including a rotating 
center; death dots that eliminate landing pegs; 
and power-ups that make you immovable, 
intangible, or radiate Shockwaves that shift 
nearby pegs. Sliders is a solid addition to 
Arcade, and better yet, it fills a new niche. 

— Corey Cohen 




THE VERDICT 



ON XBOX LIVE ARCADE 



Adds something new and 
different to HFGN and XBLA. 
Fun multiplayer; good variety 
of rulesets and options. 
Poor onscreen instructions; 
starting new games sucks. 
Can they build a Sorry Sliders 
trackball for this? 



75 



m 



74 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



NO LAZINESS HERE: Fortunately, the guitar and bass parts in "One" have been recharted 
since Guitar Hero III to take advantage of sustained notes and open notes. 



OFF BASS: As expected, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted is not included in the game. 
Unfortunately, though, neither is Cliff Burton, except as a mention in some of the Metallifacts. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 75 




Uno Rush @ 

Time waits for no hand s # 



Jj:::::: : : Uno Rush is a faster, more frantic 
it:::::::: variation ofthetop-sellingXBLA 
•••••••••• card game, with one very simple 

•••••••••• mechanic added: a merciless clock. 

Players continually shuffle their decks so that the 
order creates chains. When it's your turn to play 
— a window of just a few seconds — the first card 
in your hand automatically plays if it matches 
the color or number of the one on the pile, and 
you keep discarding until you play a Command 
Card (Skip, Reverse, Draw Two, Wild, or the new 
Scramble) or you run out of matches. If you can 
create a chain all the way through your hand — 
red 2, yellow 2, yellow 7, blue 7, and so on — then 
all you really need to remember to do is call 
"Uno!" on your way out. But since you're nearly 
always shuffling the order of your hand, you're 
constantly on the brink of both success and 
failure — you have to pay attention to your hand, 
the target color (thankfully, the whole screen 



changes based on the current suit), and the 
devious plans of the other three players. In much 
the same way that Tetris offers happy, stressful 
thrills, Uno Rush is utterly nerve-racking. 



You're constantly 
on the brink of both 
success and failure. 



Of course, as long as you enjoy the anxiety of 
thinking fast, it's great. And much more than the 
original, Uno Rush seems to make people swear. 
A lot. It's a pressurized environment, so don't 
jump onto Xbox Live expecting the low-key, polite 
vibe of Carcassonne. Or even the original Uno, for 
that matter. 



► A five-minute interactive tutorial teaches 
you the new rules quite well. 

Uno Rush supports single-player and 
teamplay both online and off-, along with an 
Elimination mode (play on every turn or earn a 
strike; three strikes and you're out) — plus you 
can mix up various elements with House Rules. 
Thankfully, the computer A.I. occasionally makes 
human-style mistakes, and it's nice that Avatars 
are supported, but all you can do is make them 
bob their heads. We'd like to be able to trigger 
animations of joy and despair between rounds. 

And aside from some harmless, jaunty 
music.that's about it. Uno Rush is Uno, rushed. 
It's neither better nor worse; it's just at a different 
speed and twice the price. This probably could 
have (and maybe should have) been an add-on 
pack to the original game, but hey, if we were 
Microsoft, we'd reshuffle a new title for our 
hottest XBLA franchise, too. 

— Dan Amrich 



Ninja Blade f) 

Meet the most unlikely hero since Blinx 



NINJA 
TOOLS 



It's 2015 in Tokyo, and the city 

faces a scourge marginally more 

frightening than the hordes of 



•••• 

••••••••• imported English teachers it 



has to deal with today. That's right, a KILLER 
MUTANT VIRUS is making bloody, messy work 
for helicopters full of trained assassins and 
Hollywood extras. And...well, that's all you need 
to know to predict the rest of Ninja Blade's cost- 
cutting storyline. 

You're in control of Ken, a likeable ninja-from- 
the-future with all kinds of ninja tricks he can 
use to wow friends and loved ones at parties. His 
Ninja Vision ability (a finite resource assigned 
to the right trigger) paints the screen red and 
blue, where the splashes of blue indicate items/ 
structures that you can use, enemies' most 
vulnerable points, and so on. This function also 
slows everything down — and in a game that's as 
hyper as this one, any slow-motion respite can be 
pretty useful. 



For someone who should be chopping 
infected flesh like a crazed surgeon, Ken seems 
to spend an inordinate amount of time simply 
running around. He can even run along walls 
and up the faces of buildings. And when he's not 
running, he can often be found leaping or flying. 
Result: Ninja Blade feels unexpectedly like a 3D 
platformer. Levels are built along straight tracks 
without much scope for exploration; the only 
breaks come during mutant extermination and 
fights against ridiculously huge boss monsters. 

Ninja Blade's biggest gimmick, though, is 
its overuse of quick-time events. It's fun the first 
time, slightly less so the second and third, and 
completely irritating by the 786th time Ninja Blade 
bombards you with its overenthusiastic QTE-ing. 
The thing is, you're not even risking much during 
them. If you mess up, the action just rewinds a 
few seconds and you try again. They're truly fun 
only when it comes to finishing moves, where 
you need to press an arbitrarily assigned button 







if &m 






£ 


\ *J 






my 



1-l-T 

<!«. 




THE VERDICT 






ON XBOX LIVE ARCADE 



+ Easy to learn; nice interactive 

tutorial. 
+ Smart A.I. and plenty of 

opponents on Xbox Live. 
" Avatars would add something if 

they did something. 
? If you're an Uno fan, why would 

you resist? 



9 



8.0 

m 




Ken is equipped with 
the ninja's equivalent 
of a Swiss army knife, I 
and you can swap ' 

weapons simply by 
tapping directions on the D-pad. He has 
long swords, big swords, double swords 
(one for each hand), whirlwind shuriken 
(thrown like boomerangs), blazing shuriken 
(blades on fire), and lightning shuriken (flash 
strikes). He has different blades for different 
escapades, and it's crucial that you know 
which one is best suited to the job at hand. 



to land the killer blow at the end of a string of 
attacks. That's pretty satisfying. 

Despite its flashy razzle-dazzle, Ninja Blade 
feels surprisingly shallow. It's not particularly 
long (you can see everything in less than 10 
hours), and the novelties it wants you to like, it 
shoves in your face quite rudely many times over 
until you just want it to go home and stop leaving 
messages on your phone. 

— Jonti Davies 





THE VERDICT 








fxl 




ON XBOX 360 






+ Quick, flashy mutant-slicing 
ninja action. 

" Not enough breathing room for 
exploration. 

" Way, way too many quick-time- 
event cutscenes. 

? Tell us they didn't have Uwe Boll 
write this script...please? 




OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE J 






6.5 








76 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



HATE TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE: The developer of the original Uno, Carbonated Games, also 
created Fable II Pub Games and Hexic2. Sadly, though, the studio disbanded last March. 



NINJA DINING: Tokyo has an awesome ninja-themed restaurant, but that's about as close 
as you can get these days, because there are no real ninjas in Japan today. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 77 





©xeox 



Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures: 
Fright of the Bumblebees 



Time to get crackin' 

J2:::::: : : Pairing a hapless madcap inventor 

••••• 

St:::::::: with his long-suffering, too-clever- 

•••••••;•• for-his-own-good canine companion 

•••••••••• in a string of wacky misadventures 

is the perfect fodder for episodic romps on Xbox 

Live Arcade. And for a lot of reasons, the first 

episode of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures 

— Fright of the Bumblebees — works as a 

console-friendly take on the classic point-and- 

click adventure. 

Right off the bat, you're embroiled in a 
breakfast-making dilemma that only whipsmart 
mutt Gromit can solve by gathering various items 
left lying around the pair's home. Making eggs, 
honey, and toast for Wallace while matching 
wits with a weird squirrel-creature (they keep 
calling it a squirrel, but it sure doesn't look 
like one!) is a nice, gentle introduction to 
the way the game works and thinks. Jfct 

And "gentle" is a great word _jft^ 
for describing how Wallace & 
Gromit is structured. For those 



of us who aren't the least bit puzzle-savvy, the 
game contains an optional "hint meter" that 
can offer varying levels of advice as to what 
you should be doing if you're not sure how 
the dots are connected. Even when the game 
shifts to less item-dependent solutions — like 
a segment that has you first-person-shooting 
giant bumblebees in the yard with porridge, or 
another involving Mad Libs-style, insult-riddled 
word puzzles — it remains incredibly warm and 
fuzzy rather than tough and taxing. Solving the 
puzzles the game dishes out requires little to no 
elbow grease. 



And as a result, Wallace & Gromit feels a 
bit too easy, too slight. But no worries, right? 
Having a charming, story-based game that keeps 
clipping along isn't such a bad thing if there's 
plenty of content to make up for quickly solved 
puzzles, right? The problem is, there's not. Fright 
of the Bumblebees is the first of four separately 
sold episodes, and you can play through it in 
just a breezy three hours or so. Bummer. 

We love the game's world, we love the 
good-natured charm of the characters, and 
we appreciate the promise of more adventure 
games to come. But for the merely curious, even 
great presentation goes only so far in justifying 
dropping $10 for the truly bite-sized amount of 
adventuring you get in Fright of the Bumblebees. 
Going in blind will likely leave you feeling a bit 
ripped-off. It's best to wisely reserve this tiny but 
lovable slice of Wallace 
j^ & Gromit-ness for true 
fans of the genre. 
— Francesca Reyes 




Yay! We need more adventure 

games on XBLA! 

Lovely dialogue; spot-on perfect 

for W&G nerds. 

Waaaay too pricey for the short, 

slight amount of gameplay. 

Why don't they want us to touch 

the Gorgonzola in Chapter 3? 



9 



6.5 

m 



NCAA Basketball 
09: March Madness 
Edition 



It's a shrewd business 

move: sell just the 

tournament portion of 
your college-hoops game around March 
Madness for $15 to lure in those who didn't 
pay $60. Unfortunately, though, no extra 
effort seems to have gone into EA's download- 
only NCAA Basketball, as it suffers from the 
same problems as its full-price retail daddy. 

The transitions into and out of animations 
still aren't smooth, making it look like players 
are teleporting around the court. Worse, the 
handy pick-and-roll button is basically an 
exploit, as you can get an easy score with it 
90 percent of the time on all but the highest 
difficulty level. We also forced an unhealthy 
amount of backcourt violations. Nice 
gameplan, poor execution. 

— Ryan McCaffrey 



VERDICT 



Tystal Defei 



\\ Yes, people, it finally 

:| happened — a phone 
s game's been ported 

x Live Arcade! Crystal 

iers was originally made for iPhone 

>ods, and Square Enix didn't lift a fin 
improve it for Arcade. These graphics 

-"n't tax a Game Boy Color, and that's just 

o\ — especially when we're expected to 
fork over $10 for it. With that off our chests, 
if you like tower-defense games (a quasi-RTS 
where you build a network of defenses that 
fends off ever-stronger waves of attacks), 
Crystal Defenders is an awfully deep one. It 
puts characters from Final Fantasy Tactics 
to work for 120 stages, and its demanding, 
strategy-heavy gameplay can kinda hook you. 
Ultimately, it's almost intriguing enough to 
forgive its sins...almost. 

— Paul Curthoys 



I VERDICT 





Tomb Raider: 
Underworld — 
.ara's Shadow 

:::::::: Playing as Naughty Lara in this new 
:::::::: mission means you're gifted with 
:::::::: ne w abilities. She's faster, stronger, 
nd able to dash along ledges, scramble up 
falls, and slow down time like Max Payne, 
lajor props for mixing up the traditional Tomb 
lider formula by uppingthe pace and making 



vement much more over-the-top. 

fway through, though, everything 
takes a depressing slide into the abyss. The 
second part requires you to retrace your steps, 
undoing what you've just done. Worse, you're 
attacked by wave after wave of mummified 
enemies, lending the feeling they're being 
used to pad out the length of this DLC. 

-Ben Talbot 



DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT 



BUYr FANBOYS ONLY^GENY 



FIFA 09: 
Ultimate Team 



This combination of 

collectible-card gaming 

and soccer is just what the venerable 
FIFA series needs. When first firing up the 
Ultimate Team downloadable content, players 
are given a starter pack of cards that consists 
of somewhat mediocre players and other 
powers. Then you're expected to use these 
to earn points to buy more packs, or simply 
use real money to buy cards (Boo!). The huge 
number of stats, positions, and contract 
points will keep the hardcore stat-muncher 
at work, but UT will definitely turn off anyone 
looking for simple soccer fun. Chances are, if 
you're a big fan of footy, you're all over this 
little gem of a download. But for the more 
casual footballer, it won't convert you. 

— Taylor Cocke 



DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT 



FANBOYS DNLY^DENY 



Fallout 3: 
The Pitt 

Forging a better 
brand of DLC 




::::!::::: You're warned from the start: it'll be 
:::::::::: a rough journey, so come prepared. 
:::::::::: But besides a buggy launch — 
massive glitches plagued The Pitt's initial 
release, but were rectified a week later — this 
downloadable content is rough in all the right 
ways. It introduces a bleak, smoldering steel 
town filled with slaves, slavers, and some 
vicious new mutants, theTrogs. In typical 
Fallout fashion, you have a choice: Do you 
side with the harsh powers that be, or help 
the downtrodden escape their fate? 

Beneath it all is an even bigger question 
involving a cure for the town's rampant 
radiation poisoning. As you seek answers, 
you'll nab a couple of new weapons (the 
whirly-bladed Auto Axe is a great Trog-slicer), 
meet some compelling new characters... 
and realize the situation is, yup, more 
complicated than you initially thought. 
While the first DLC, Operation Anchorage, was 
a so-so stab at making Fallout 3 an action 
game, The Pitt returns to the game's brilliant 
RPG gameplay. And once you finish the four- 
to five-hour story and leave The Pitt, you 
can return there, too, to trade with some 
of the townsfolk. We liked it enough that we 
just might. 

— Corey Cohen 




jf* DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT 

Gripping new sidestory that expands the mythos. 

Fascinating town; new weapons; 100 Gamerscore; 

ability to return to the new area. 

Scavenging for steel bars is a bleh (but mercifully 

brief) mission. 

How psyched are we now for the third DLC? Very! 

) FANBOYS ONLY DENY 



78 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



INCOMING ALERT: The three upcoming episodes of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures are 
The Last Resort, Muzzled!, and The Bogey Man. 



DID I "ACHIEVE" ANYTHING?: You'll get an astounding 25 Gamerscore for watching the 
credits in March Madness Edition. And you don't even have to view them to completion! 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 79 




Stormrise 

Can it whip console RTSs into shape? 



< 

> 



":::::: : : It's probably not the wisest choice 
JZ:::::::: to release your real-time strategy 
•••::::::: game so close to the biggest console 
:::::::::: RTS ever (that'd be Halo Wars), but 
Stormrise carries quite the pedigree itself— it's 
developed by the studio behind the acclaimed 
Total War PC series. Here, two opposing tribes 
of humanity square off for control of a post- 
apocalyptic Earth. The tanks and robo-suits of the 
Echelon battle the mutants and telepaths of the 
Sai because. ..oh, who cares. Stormrise's plot is 
tedious, cliche-packed, and just plain murky. 

While Halo Wars takes a slick but very 
traditional approach to real-time strategizing, 
Stormrise has two big ideas that nobly 
attempt to push the genre forward. First up is 
verticality, which means this is a true 3D world, 
containing building interiors, rooftops, and 
tunnels as opposed to the usual flat terrain 



that's straight out of a board game. Line of sight 
is crucial — you can't see anything that your 
units can't see, but conversely, you can hide 
soldiers or even gunships. 

Then there's whip select, intended to defeat 
the perennial problem of managing multiple 
units on a gamepad. Instead of zipping a cursor 
over the guy you're after to select him, you 
nudge the right thumbstick in the approximate 
direction of the unit in question or hold it down 
to wave a sort of laser pointer for finer selection. 
The camera will jump straight to him, even if 
he's way off on the other side of the screen. It's 
very logical, and when it works, you'll feel like 
a psychic savant, able to skip across miles with 
an almost imperceptible action. When it doesn't 
(read: often), an important unit will be thumped 
to death while you're left continually "whipping" 
over to something entirely useless. 



► Indoor locations lend an air of freshness 
to the usual outdoor strategy fare. 



Perhaps that's a side effect of trying to 
reinvent the wheel, and partly it's a matter of 
presentation — Stormrise's major failing. The 
decision to stick to Gears of War's browns and 
grays is silly in a game where distinguishing 
between units is key. It's not simply that it's low- 
tech; it's that the lack of color in such a zoomed- 
out, heavily populated environment makes it too 
hard to tell what's going on. 

That's Stormrise all over, really — hugely 
clever ideas undone by weirdly inexpert 
execution. The fine tactics and devious 
ambushes mean it could become a quiet 
multiplayer hit for the hardcore — eight-player 
online warfare is what Stormrise is really 
built around, and those who master the foggy 
interface and controls are in for epic battles. But 
in single-player, it's charmless and frustrating. 

— Dan Underwood 




THE VERDICT 



ON XBOX 360 



Ambitious and clever; real 
multiplayer deviousness. 
Looks like an explosion in a mud 
factory, visually speaking. 
Controls are too fiddly and can 
lead to frustration. 
Why isn't single-player more fun, 
like the multiplayer? 



© 



6.0 

~n 




©XBOX 



Revisit some of the notable hits and misses 
from the Xbox 360 library as we press... 

•BACK 
BUTTON 



The Chronicles of Riddick: 
Assault on Dark Athena 

When The 
Chronicles of 
Riddick: Escape 
From Butcher 
Say hit shelves 
in 2004 with Vin 
Diesel at the 
1 helm, the world 
"H was treated 
' to a beautiful 
and brutal 

surprise. Five years later, the game has been completely rebuilt from 
the ground up, including brand-new multiplayer modes and a new 
campaign expansion, all for the price of a single game. With all the 
goodies packed into one $60 box, it's no wonder that Assault on Dark 
Athena snagged an Editors' Choice with a 9.0. 



Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 

I All Top Gun jokes 
aside (it's all we 
can do to not 
hop on to Live 
and ask people 
if they have 
the need...the 
I need for speed), 
Ubisoft's foray 
into the bright 
blue yonder gave 
us a wonderful taste of why we should love slightly arcadey flight 
sims. Sky-high shootouts at ridiculous speeds will never stop being 
fun, and doing them with your friends is a formula for a fantastic 
time. Essentially, by moving away from all the technical stuff, H.A.W.X. 
focuses on making flying a fighter jet thrilling and tense. That paid 
off — we gave it a high-flying 8.5. 



The Revii 
Roundup 





USED GAMES ARE A HOT 
DEBATE TOPIC THESE DAYS. 

With GameStop raking in half of its $8.8-billion revenue in 2008 from 
used-game sales, it was only a matter of time before it started seeing some 
competition. Both Amazon.com and Toys "R" Us have recently joined the 
secondhand-videogame market, and the debate over its effect on the 
industry has reignited once again. 

It's also sparked conversation in the OXM offices. On the weekly OXM 
podcast (www.oxmpodcast.com), Dan and I frequently rail against buying 
used — though our reaction is admittedly a knee-jerk emotional response. 
To clarify, we want to see great games rewarded with all of the sales 
they deserve — and have the money go into their creators' pockets, not 
GameStop's. But Paul brought up a hard-to-argue point: When you pay $60 
for a game, it becomes your game. And it's not as if the automotive industry 
has been destroyed by used-car sales. 

On the one hand, Paul's right: It's your property, and you're free to do 
what you want with it. And his automotive analogy is dead-on, too: the car 
industry has motored along for years with used vehicles co-existing in the 
same marketplace with new ones. 

Nevertheless, I can't shake my desire to see game developers profit 
from their blood, sweat, and tears with new-copy sales. Not to take anything 
away from the autoworkers who tirelessly toil to design and assemble cars, 
but am I wrong to think that videogames are a much more creative process 
— one closerto art than the machine-like process of building a car — and 
should be appreciated and supported as such? 

— Ryan McCaffrey 



What's the Score? 




Wanted: Weapons of Fate 


May 2009 


Xbox 360 


7.5 


The Godfather II 


May 2009 


Xbox 360 


7.5 


Texas Cheat 'Em 


April 2009 


XBLA 


6.5 



Skate 2 



March 2009 



Xbox 360 



8.0 



* 




BVX.BQ 


(NOWftnundup 


k^^H l 




Ml 


_„^ b=j_ 


: i 


33 


— ■! Ir ' " 3 




apwwB 3 ^- " ' 




jBHH==- p ^1 


Tff^"^ 


=shJ 


1^— — = ■ 



^^^^^ -\ 


™^L 






hR \ 






J U ij " U | -^^F 



Back when Xbox was just a strapping young 
lad, we could fit our review roundup in the 
magazine. These days, there's just no wav. 
No way at all. So each month we updat 
digitize it, and put it on our demo disc, 
it — complete with the score and is 
e of every game we've reviewed — 1 
ra Content section. 



80 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Creative Assembly's Empire: Total War just hit the PC, and while 
it's a more sober affair, it's all too clear that Stormrise played second fiddle to it. 



SWEET DEAL: The new PopCap Arcade, Volume 2 packs three great Live Arcade games — Peggie 
Deluxe, Heavy Weapon, and Feeding Frenzy 2 — onto one $20 disc. As downloads, they're $10 each. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 81 



EwSl 



EVERYTHING HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF XBOX 
AND XBOX 360, BROUGHT TO YOU IN LIVING COLOR 



OXBOX 

The Halo You Never Knew 

An entire Halo 3 campaign level got cut, and Forge almost didn't happen. Producer Allen 
Murray explains how the tough decisions get made inside Bungie. By Dan Amrich 



Halo 3 fans will 
recognize this as what 
became the multiplayer 
map Guardian, but it 
didn't start out as a 
standalone arena. 




FA 

Allen Murray, a three-year veteran 
producer at Bungie, presented 
"Building Your Airplane While Flying: 
Production at Bungie" at this year's 
Game Developers Conference. His presentation 
was mainly for the edification of fellow game 
developers, to share the production processes 
that did and didn't work over the course of Halo 3, 
in hopes that the entire development community 
can swap ideas and solutions — but it was chock 
full of insights us regular oP gamers would find 
interesting, too. Among the highlights: 

MULTIPLAYER CAME FIRST 

When the Halo 3 team started, there were 
just three producers working with a team of 
75 artists, designers, and programmers. With 
those resources, most of their energy was put 
into multiplayer modes, and the team couldn't 
focus on more without growing. The game's 
campaign became the focus midway through the 
development cycle, and the team grew to 110 and 
six producers. At the end of the ship cycle — and 
even today, as DLC continues to be developed — 
the Halo 3 team encompassed more than 150 
people and 11 producers. 

SAVED FILMS 

ALMOST WEREN'T SAVED 

Late in the development cycle, it looked like the 
saved-films feature was going to have to be cut for 
time. But two people "really, really believed in it 



FORGE WAS A LAST-MINUTE IDEA 

Forge didn't come into existence until six months 
before Halo 3 shipped, but it was intriguing 
enough that enough people wanted to do the 
extra work to bring it to life. "We had to cut some 
small Ul features to make it happen," admitted 
Murray, but with two or three people dedicated to 
making it work, it was in for ship. 

BUNGIE'S OFFICE ISN'T REALLY 
MADE UP OF OFFICES 

The studio's floorplan is an open environment. 
"There are no walls — you can stand up and see 
everyone in the studio, and all our desks are on 
wheels," said Murray. This not only encourages a 
team spirit, but also lets different employees gravi- 
tate to wherever they're needed most — with the 
multiplayer art team, the campaign programmers, 
wherever — at any given time. Over the years, 
Murray's moved his desk an estimated 30 times. 

POLISH IS NON-NEGOTIABLE 

Every person at Bungie takes two to four weeks 
atthe end of their work cycle purely to polish 
what they've created. No new content is added, 
and Murray said the time is not there as "a 
contingency plan" — it's all simply refinement of 
what is already there. In our opinion, it shows. 



I 



The Guardians were worth more dead than 
alive — their laser eyeballs became weapons. 



ItfL^Jfi 


j 


w 





As this concept art shows, the Guardian 
Forest level would have lived up to its name. 



82 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



GOOD MORNING, HERE'S YOUR WORK: Bungie's scheduling system automatically sends 
each employee's current projects to their computer's Active Desktop every day. 




Qxeox 



--■DO YOU KODU? 



ltd 



Building games in XNA just got stupidly easy 



Wk 



Bungie's workspace is totally fluid: all 150 workstations are on 
wheels for maximum mobility and reconfiguration as projects need it. 

THEY BURNED DOWN THE GUARDIAN FOREST 

"Halo 2 was pretty bad for the team," Murray acknowledged. "They worked 
really hard and did a lot of amazing work, and atthe end, a lot of theirwork 
had to get cut, and it was a big morale hit for the team. We didn't want that 
to happen with Halo 3." So, Bungie builds detailed schedules — not to 
"shame or coerce" people, said Murray, but to give the entire team data they 
can use to prepare for the task at hand. When the team sat down more than 
a year before Halo 3 shipped to look at the levels, they realized they were 
overbooked — the team simply couldn't complete all the art and lighting 
assets in time. But the launch date was immovable by that point, and simply 
adding new team members would create its own training problems. The 
only reasonable answer was to "reduce scope." That means a campaign 
level named Guardian Forest had to be cut, even though it was well under 
construction. This also meant losing a new enemy called a Guardian — a 
floating, conical sentry with a central laser eyeball that the player could tear 
out and use as a weapon. However, the team felt Guardian Forest's Hornet- 
flying sequence was too much fun to lose, so they transplanted it to a new 
section of Citadel. That's not the only remnant of Guardian Forest to survive: 
the team eventually carved out a very small segment of the level and turned 
it into the popular small-scale multiplayer map Guardian. 

Other casualties of scheduling included combiningtwo smaller missions 
into what became the Cortana campaign level, and removing large sections of 
Tsavo Highway. Murray admitted that these cuts hurt, but they hurt a lot less 
than they would have had they not been made so early — and they certainly 
smarted less than similar cuts made to Halo and Halo 2. And the upshot was 
that the Halo 3 team found itself with a realistic schedule it could believe 
in, and the transparency of the decision made everyone feel informed and 
empowered. That's great for them, but we can't stop thinking about how cool 
it would be to rip out a laser eyeball and use it in Team Slayer... 




You can't create a game if you don't know the language. For 
hobby XNA programmers, that language is C#— but for the 
rest of us, it might as well be Swahili. Ah, says Microsoft, 
so what if we create a new language for making games? 
That's the idea behind Kodu, which is technically a game construction 
set designed for kids...but it's really just a way for any gamer with an 
idea to make their own 360 game. 

Think of Kodu like a fast-food picture menu — just point at the game 
object, then tell Kodu what you want it to do. A simple radial menu 
(similar systems are seen in Halo Wars, Mass Effect, and Saints Row) 
presents all the objects at your disposal — around 200 of them, ranging 
from trees and clouds to flying saucers and blimps. Need the blimp to 
patrol an area and shoot any flying saucers it sees along the way? 
Great — create a blimp, drop a few giant waypoints on your level map, 
then simply select the "see," "flying saucer," and "shoot" icons in 
order. It's that simple. You worry about the game logic, what happens, 
and how objects interact; Kodu takes care of the heavy lifting, like 
lighting and animation. Kodu can make shmups, platformers, strategy 
games, first-person shooters, even four-player multiplayer games 
(couch-play only...for now). You'll even be able to give your creations to 
other folks on Live — just invite them to your Party and select Share. 

Kodu will appear on Xbox Live Marketplace some time this spring, 
and it won't cost more than $10 — Kodu itself is a Community Game, 
built with XNA Game Studio, and it will be priced accordingly. We're 
going to dive in and put Kodu to the test as soon as we get the chance, 
so look for more coverage in OXM soon. 

— Dan Amrich 















m® 






/ ••■ 1 l£ 1 






^1 


-•■; 


E™ 




■B? 




wSm 


lc&* -M 


\ 




m 






12 




A radial menu makes 
programming very 
easy and intuitive. 




The end of Guardian Forest would have been a battle against this 
massive Sentinel, similar to the nasties the Arbiter fought in Halo 2. 



Microsoft says you can use Kodu 
to create puzzlers, platformers, and 
even first-person shooters. 



■■ 



MORE DEV NEWS: Xbox developers will soon get a new black-and-blue 360 dev kit with double 
the RAM. Plus, Community Games developers can now use Avatars in their games! 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 83 



Qxbox 





ixeox 



The TEN Most Influential People In Xbox G^mjng 

Who shaped the Xbox 360 you play today? 



In a machine as complex as 
the videogame business, you 
could argue that every artist, 
engineer, designer, and tester 
is a vital component. And yes, much of the 
innovation in games does get credited to 
the wrong people — those with the biggest 
profiles rather than brains. But there's no 
mistaking vision. The real visionaries in 
this industry suggest changes that don't 
obviously make sense at first; they ask 
questions that no one wants to answer; 
and as they announce their ideas to the 
world, they stand alone before the cynics. 

Maybe Tony "Scarface" Montana had it 
right: big ideas are one thing, but bigger 
balls are what count. Here, then, are the 
people who've had the most influence, the 
folks who most shaped the 360 you play 
today. Some of our picks may surprise you. 



The Whizz 

JOHNCARMACK 
Technical director, id Software 




Before Unreal Engine 
3 took over the world, 
it was all about the 
Quake Engine, which 
powered games like 
Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Call 
of Duty. Carmack's inventions inspire 
countless technicians throughout gaming — 
so much so that he was ranked 10th in Time 
magazine's list of the 50 most influential 
people in technology. That was in 1999, 
and his profile has been lower lately — 
but that'll change with the release of id's 
next game, the remarkable-looking Rage. 



The Dreamer 

J ALLARD 

Chief technology officer, Microsoft 

Entertainment and Devices Division 




J Allard oversaw the entire Xbox project, from 
its hardware and tools to its pioneering online 
service, Xbox Live. Now Live has become the 
template for online console communities, 
serving millions of downloads of everything 
from demos to HD movies. And with last fall's 
New Xbox Experience, there's an even greater 
emphasis on ease of use, online innovation, 
and personalizing the Xbox environment. 
"The essence of our vision is reflected in the 
name: Xbox 360," he said at E3 2005. "It's 
the product that delivers experiences where 
the player is center stage." 



The Ringmaster 

ZACH RUSSELL 

Director of special projects, Bungie 



The community-bolstered multi- 
player aspect of Halo 2 — 
specifically, the Bungie.net 
website and its hosting of 
player profiles — redefined the 
relationship between console 
shooters and the internet. Now 
any FPS that takes its multiplayer 
seriously is expected to track the online 
careers of its players. The entire model 
for deathmatch gaming has changed, its 
influence cascading into multiplayer as a 
whole, thanks to Zach. 





The Scout 

DAVID EDERY 
Worldwide portfolio planner, 
Xbox Live Arcade 



As great as XBLA is, it's only as great as the games it offers, the games 
it has lined up, and the speed at which one becomes the other. It's 
been a rocky road: for about a year, we wondered if we'd ever see more 
than old arcade games given lackluster ports. But that was before 
Geometry Wars 2, Castle Crashers, Rez HD, A Kingdom for Keflings, and 
Braid proved the program's potential. In his role as manager of that 
lineup, Edery's latest pledge has been to identify niches that aren't 
served by either Sony's or Nintendo's competing services. 




The Webmaster 

MARC DOYLE 

Founder / Games editor, Metacritic 



Game reviewers love to tell 
anyone who'll listen that it's 
not just about the number at 
the end. But for many gamers 
and publishers, the review 
score makes all the difference. 
Of course, The Sims is always 
going to sell millions while Brothel 
Tycoon 6 sells squat. But for those 
games caught in the middle, a 
score aggregator like Metacritic 
can cost developers thousands in 
withheld royalties and other publisher 
penalties. Aggregate scores can^e 
a massively useful tool when so * *! 
much time and money is invested 
by you, the consumer. So like it or 
not, they're here to stay. 




The Architect 

TIM SWEENEY 

Technical director, Epic Games 



VP Mark Rein and Gears of 
War designer Cliff Bleszinski 
(aka CliffyB) get all the 
press, but it's Sweeney who 
oversees the most important 
department at Epic: the Unreal 
Engine. It's powerful, efficient, 
and well-supported, which 
s why it sits at the heart of 
BioShock, Splinter Cell, and 
Mirror's Edge, to name a few. 
To date, it's powered over 
100 games. So don't cry for 
Sweeney's less-visible 
profile: he and his 
Lamborghini Diablo 
and Ferrari F430 are 
doing just fine. 



The Playmaker 

SHIGERU MIYAMOTO 

Senior managing director, Nintendo 



What's the father of Nintendo's 
legendary plumber doing here? 
Put aside his unimpeachable 
legacy, if you can, and 
thinkabout his more recent 
accomplishments. His role 
in creating the Nintendo Wii 
reshaped the industry at a time 
when that seemed impossible. 
His Miis arguably begat our 
Avatars, hisWiimotes 
certainly seemed to suggest 
the Big Button controllers, 
and Microsoft is just as 
keen for a slice of that 
"casual gamer" pie. 
Microsoft watches what 
he does and reacts. 



The Emperor 

JOHNRICCITIELLO 
CEO, Electronic Arts 



What do you say about a man whose 
influence sits on almost every shelf 
of every major videogame store? 
A veteran of consumer-product 
companies like Cloroxand 
Wilson Sporting Goods, Riccitiello 
is currently in charge of the publisher 
behind Need for Speed, Rock Band, 
Burnout Paradise, the EA Sports brand, 
Skate. ..and we're not even talking about 
PC franchises like The Sims, Spore, or 
Crysis yet. And before you complain 
about sequels and — oh dear — 
Superman Returns, just bear in mind 
that EA's recent changes produced 
Dead Space and development deals 
with movie directors Steven Spielberg 
and Zack "Watchmen" Snyder. 



The Butcher 

SHINJIMIKAMI 
Director, Resident Evil 4 



84 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



START AT THE END: Tim Sweeney's first game was 1991's ZZT, an adventure 
game using ASCII characters. Its powerful level editor set the standard. 



TASTY: John Riccitiello previously worked at 
PepsiCo, Haagen-Dazs, and Sara Lee. 




Developers seldom like to admit when 
they've ripped something off, but when 
it's Resident Evil 4, they take pride in it. 
The over-the-shoulder camera, crowd 
combat, kickass weapons, and grisly 
, kills are just part of its legacy. 
In fact, Cliff Bleszinski happily 
declares it a source of 
inspiration for 
Gears of War. 
Mikami now 
works for Japanese super-developer 
Platinum Games, which is publishing 
the forthcoming Bayonetta for 360, 
but Mikami's own game remains a 
tantalizing mystery. And while he wasn't 
involved in Resident Evil 5, we certainly 
wouldn't have it without him. 



Okay, we're betting that you 
probably don't know how to 
debug a complex particle system. 
Butyou play a more important 
role than ever in shaping games 
today. That's partly thanks to 
the increased role of internet 
forums in giving consumers a 
voice. Believe it or not, both PR 
people and developers check 
them regularly for feedback. 
And as online gaming becomes 
increasingly sophisticated, the 
way you play is constantly being 
monitored, and used to decide 
the features and upgrades of new 
IPs and sequels. So before you 
joke online about accordions in 
Rock Band 3... 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 85 



Qxbox 




GAMING ON THE CHEAP 



Looking to cut back on your spending but not your gaming? You have more options 

than yOU knOW. By Taylor Cocke 



At $50 and $60 a pop for new titles, 
: gaming has never been a cheap hobby. 
• Worse, if you "trade in" your old games 
to a major retailer, you'll get only a 
fraction of their true value. With the economy likely 
to stay rough for a while, what are your options for 
gaming on a budget? Luckily for you, gamers all over 
are in similar situations — and they're mobilizing. 

TRADE AWAY! 

The most logical solution is to do one-to-one trades 
with friends. But what if you have no friends? Hit 
the web, and you'll find several sites dedicated to 
swapping "previously enjoyed" games. If you're 
looking for the newest titles, Goozex.com specializes 
in just that. They work with a point system that 
assigns a certain number of trade credits for each 
game you trade in. You use those credits to "buy" 
other games that people have sent in. It's all based 
on supply and demand, so if you're done with a big, 
popular game, expect to be able to score a few older 
or lesser-known games. 

However, if you prefer to trade on your own 
terms, veteran trading website GameTZ.com offers 
an absolutely huge and dedicated community of 
retro and modern gamers ready to haggle. Just list 
the games you're ready to trade and the games you 
want to get for them. If you're willing to do a bit of 
wheeling and dealing, it's the way to go — and it's 
surreal to see Pole Position for the Atari 2600 on the 
same lists as Resident Evil 5. 

The newest player in game-swapping sites is 
SwitchGames.com, which not only lets you trade 
for free, but is also establishing a compensation 
program for publishers and developers, so the folks 
who made the games don't get completely screwed 
by the secondary market. 

WHY BUY WHEN YOU CAN RENT? 

If your tastes are fleeting, you can always rent. Using 
a rent-by-mail model that's similar to Netflix's, 
GameFly is perfect for the short-attention-span 
gamer. With its quick turnaround and monthly fee of 
about $15, avid gamers can get their money's worth 
pretty easily. And if you fall in love, you can buy the 
game that you're renting for what you'd pay for a 
used game at a brick-and-mortar store. 

DIY SWAPPING 

But where's the human element? Reach out to your 
local buddies and set up a trade day. All it takes is a 
couple of gamers and a little organization (promote it 
with fliers and Facebook), and you'll have a thriving 
community in no time. Combine it with a Rock Band 
night or a Halo tournament, and bam — instant party. 

Clearly, you don't need to stand for used-game 
ripoffs. Thrifty gamers have many more options — 
and for the most part, they're much better deals. 



Thi Gvy &4t# [Kft+al 






A-hllldfalE Ll itac l %, 1. 



:p 1. UU LM.'| 



Eta* i#L Mfkifl pM. 
brawl fer*].&Bpp ^h 



■-*-.. -M-mm 

UiU'-lm-.'.-li 







Winl.J Usiifiiji 



B*. j*L Ud*h* f*i 



Game Trading Zone may not look fancy, but the selection is absurd — and it's full of rarities. 




Goozex is a bit more slick, but their selection includes only the most recent systems. 




» 



Marl today and Lam GAMEFLY RE WAR PS JiBlfvrfitinq a Menteft LMmMw* 



PREP LAY ED © ^ 

CTOflE 



spymlilftiriv cam^ 

111 umtonwinviMK ■» Pr _ „ J*. 





Along with rentals, GameFly also has a used store, and a "Keep It" price that lets you buy 
the game you're currently renting. 



86 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



RISKS: More "official" websites like Goozex can guarantee your trades, but they charge a small fee. 
Sites like GameTZ.com are free and have a larger selection, but they work on an honor system. 



Qxbox 







RE-COVER 



Videogame cover art sucks — but it 
doesn't have to. Some artsy gamers 
share their own classy ideas. By Taylor Cocke 

Never mind books — you can't judge a game by 

its cover. Bad box art has plagued the gaming 

industry for years, and every generation of 

games has its share of artistic travesties, from 

the first Mega Man on the NES to the PS2 cult favorite Ico 

(the North American version, anyway) to the 360's The 

Orange Box. Fabulously rich virtual worlds have long been 

saddled with lame-ass images that completely miss the 

point of the games they're supposed to be portraying in 

favor of being more "marketable." 

So rather than just sit on their hands, the goons over at 5r r 

SomethingAwful.com decided to do something about it and 

create their own covers, inspired by the simple, clean look t^fl 

of Penguin Classic paperback novels. The results W 

are arguably more powerful and appropriate than Crackdown 

their commercially released counterparts. We're „. ... , c 

, , , . . .. ,. v I was trying to think of games 

happy to show you (and the industry, hint hint) ... .. , c . ,. . . , 

. KKy r r \ . . ; , , with a particular feature that stood 

just a few of our favorite pieces, and we asked ,, ,,, . - . , 

' . ....... out boldly, and Crackdown came 

the artists to explain their inspiration. . . r ... . . 

K K to mind. So, my cover illustrates a 

super-powered retro police officer 

leaping onto a rooftop to chase 

a mask-wearing thief. I like to 

imagine the sound effect from The 

Six Million Dollar Man playing in 

the background." 

3£t| —Sub-Actuality 





Mirror's Edge 

"I've actually never played Mirror's Edge, but I got the gist of it 
from trailers and gameplay videos. I try to find some symbolic 
image that's synonymous with the game and work around that. 
In the case of Mirror's Edge, the first thing that came to mind 
was insane, breathtaking leaps off buildings." — Max Lawson 



88 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



DIFFERENT STROKES: For many games, the American covers are more action-oriented, while 
the European/Japanese covers for the same title are more "artistic." 



Qxbox 





ixeox 



^ Inbox 



Games-industry news is boring, so we 
dressed it up in silly outfits and made 
fun of it for you. You're welcome. 





CANCELED It seems, anyway, is the 
intriguing Aliens role-playing game that had 
been in development at renowned RPG house 
Obsidian. Layoff rumors plagued the studio, 
and more fuel was thrown on the anti-A//ens 
fire when former designer David Kondor listed 
himself as a "designer for canceled third-person 
action Aliens RPG" on his Linkedin profile. Well, 
gee, that about bursts that chest, doesn't it? 

TOSSED Yet again, mind you, was a state 
ban on the sale of violent videogames to 
minors. This time, it was the Ninth Circuit Court 
of Appeals in San Francisco that crushed Gov. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger's October 2005 law 
(which was never enforced) in a machine press. 
"The government may not restrict speech in 
order to control a minor's thoughts," the court 
wrote in its decision. In a prepared statement, 
Sarah Connor concurred: "In an insane world, it 
was the sanest choice." 



TA R G ET E D By sore-loser whiny hackers 

are Xbox Live players with more talent than their 
attackers. The BBC reports that the crybabies are 
using tools that flood data to the Live network 
after getting shotgunned in the face for the 
27th straight time on Valhalla, overloading the 



One day, there was a sudden loud noise. 
k UFO had fal len Into Firefly Sua rnpl 



service and thereby booting the honest guy from 

the game. Microsoft is apparently investigating 
the problem and banning offenders caught red- 
handed. Banning, eh? They'd just come back 
under another IP and account. Might we suggest 
a punishment of being forced to play nothing but 
Frogger2 instead? 



DUBBED The "PlayStation Palm" by doctors 
in Switzerland was a condition in which a gamer 
suffered skin lesions on their hand attributed 
to gripping a controller. The malady was first 
diagnosed on a 12-year-old female gamer, whose 
lesions went away after 10 days of rest. If you're 
curious, the official, much cooler-sounding Latin 



name for the condition is PlayStation palmar 
hidradenitis, which translates in English to 
"Time to put down the gamepad and do 
something else for a while." At least no one 
has come down with "Xbox eczema" yet. 



MOVED Down the street to developer 
Ruffian Games did another flock of former 
Crackdown team members from Realtime 
Worlds. The Scottish startup, which was 
founded by key folks from the Crackdown 
crew, is rumored to be working on a sequel 
to the hitsandboxactionerwhile Realtime 
Worlds keeps busy on their upcoming MMORPG, 
APB. WTF? RLY? RTW and Ruffian FTW!* 



PLANNING To offer a streaming-only 
subscription "in the foreseeable future" is 
Netflix. The movie-rental company, whose profit 
spike following the launch of the New 
Xbox Experience was detailed in 
this space last issue, would 
seem to be leaving a lot 
of money on the table 
from short-attention- 
spanned gamers 
who don't want to 
wait for a DVD to 
arrive in the mail. 
A digital-only plan 
for, say, $7/171 onth 
or so would seem 
to be a natural fit 
for many console 
gamers, who would 
then have access 
to more episodes of 
Murder, She Wrote than they 
could possibly want. 

ADMITTED That 

launching new IPs 
during the franchise- 
favoring, jam-packed 
holiday shopping 
season at the 
end of the year 
is not the wisest 
move, did EA. 
"Ithinkthat 
we traditionally 
thought that 
people buy games 
only at Christmas or 
around holidaytime," 
EA Redwood Shores 
studio manager Glen 
Schofield told trade website 
Gameslndustry.biz, "and now we're looking 
back and going, 'You know what, GTA launched 



How about 
Mirror's Edge 
2 in summer 
2010, EA? 





Is Microsoft taking 
the BioShock approach 
to sequel development 
(i.e., seeding a startup 
with key folks from 
the first project)? The 
Magic 8-Ball says, "All 
signs point to yes." 



in May; Resident Evil comes out in March.'" 
The admission came in the wake of less-than- 
stellar sales figures for the more-than-stellar 
first-person parkour-fest Mirror's Edge, which 
released in November (a.k.a. Retail Ground 
Zero). Fortunately, EA has already committed to a 
sequel, which means they'll be spared the angry 
pitchfork- and torch-wielding mob outside their 
offices. For now. 



► Take a guess which of these guys is Ed. 
Go ahead, we'll wait. 



TAXING Xbox Live downloadable content, is 
the state of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin 
student newspaper The Spectator reports that 
Cheese State Governor Jim Doyle approved a 
5-percent sales tax on digital goods in an effort 
to clear out a $6-billion state-budget deficit. Of 
course, state officials estimate that the tax will 
knockonly about $11 million off of the debt. 
PROBLEM SOLVED, GUYS! Look, lawmakers, 
have a heart! It's so damn cold six months out of 
the year that there's nothing else to do but play 
Xbox games. If you really want to stimulate the 
economy, perhaps you can convince the Packers 
to play twice as many home games every year. 

ENDED On March 2, did all Microsoft support 
for the original Xbox. Should your OG Xbox break 
(a much less likely proposition than a busted 
360, history has shown), you'll be able to request 
an upgrade to a 360 for an undisclosed sum. 
Hmm, now that Riddickhas been shined up for 
360, maybe we won't mind if ourOGs die. In 
fact, we've got stacks of the old doorstops in 
our offices. If we request an upgrade or five, how 
many 360s will you give us for 'em, Microsoft? 

THROWN Out of court faster than 
American Idol winners go back to their day jobs 
was Gibson's lawsuit against Activision. The 
legendary guitar-maker attempted to get an even 
bigger piece of the Guitar Hero pie (they had 
already been licensing their gear for use in the 
games) by claiming that the videogame publisher 
infringed on Gibson's patent on "generating 
and controlling a simulated musical concert 
experience." The judge in the case practically 
booed the plaintiff off the stage, saying their 
"arguments border on the frivolous." Translated 
from legalese: "The exit is that way, and don't let 
the door hit you in the ass on the way out." 



SURPASSED One billion total games 

played on Xbox Live, did Halo 3. In explaining 
the milestone, Bungie noted that such a figure 
included only games played in Matchmaking; 
it does not include custom or offline matches. 



LKtAI tU HisownCheech 
& Chong faceplate, did one-time OXM 
columnist and faceplate savant Ed Webb. 
Better still, Webb also managed to track 
down the mellowed-out duo and get them 
to sign the one-off creation, which will be 
auctioned on eBay, with proceeds benefiting 
Penny Arcade's annual Child's Play charity. 
Well done, Ed, and we'll do what we can to 
help convince Cheech & Chong's lawyers to 
drop the stalking charges! 




► "Dave? Dave's not here, man...but he 
left this faceplate." 

Nevertheless, the amount of total online playtime 
adds up to over 2 trillion seconds, or over 64,000 
years. To put that in perspective, that's about 
how long we've been waiting for Blizzard to 
finally make an Xbox 360 game. 




Halo 3: Billions and billions served. Take 
that, McDonald's! 



CRYSTAL 

BALI 



It's very clear: a prominent Japanese 
publisher will be opening its vault to 
reintroduce a couple of its biggest classics 
to Xbox Live Arcade later this year...The 
Ball reveals three red lights arranged in a 
familiar pattern shining in the dark at the 
upcoming E3, but it has nothing to do with 
Xbox 360 hardware failures... 



90 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



'TRANSLATIONS: MMORPG = massively multiplayer online role-playing game. WTF? = What the 
f***? RLY? = Oh, really? RTW = Realtime Worlds. FTW = For the win. 



IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING: Somehow, Halo 2 has still not surpassed 1 billion total games 
played. At press time, it stands at approximately 800 million...Psht, is that o//?</sarcasm> 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 91 



Ox-box 



# 




The Ultimate Street 




" Y GIVEAWAY! 



i I 



-a OJ 

^ aj 

o </) 

a. -a 

aj cd 

II 

■a ■•-' 



O CD 
O g 

r. e 

5 a: 

"> S 
gj -a 



\1 






Do you dream of owning one of those slick 
Mad Catz Sfreef Fighter IV FightSticks? You 
| know, the pricey, awesome ones that sold 
| out pretty much immediately? Have you 
! been looking everywhere for the FightPad 
] with your favorite SFIV character on it? 
Would owning that make you happy? 

Well, then, we want to make you very 
happy — like, pass-out-when-the-delivery- 
guy-knocks-on-your-door happy. We're 
giving away one of everything in the Mad 
Catz Street Fighter IV range of controllers 
and accessories. One winner gets all of 
this stuff: 

• Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Arcade 
FightStick: Tournament Edition 

• Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Arcade 
FightStick 

• All five Mad Catz Street Fighter IV 
FightPads: Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, Blanka, 
and Akuma 

• Both Mad Catz Street Fighter IV 
Faceplates and Skinz sets — Mixed and 
New Character Design 

• Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Wall Scroll 
(to hang over your instant shrine) 

What, that's not enough? Okay, fine — 
Capcom has also given us a Collector's 
Edition of Street Fighter IV, which includes 
a 65-minute anime, the game's soundtrack 
on CD, a small strategy guide from Prima, 
and a Crimson Viper figurine. Seriously. 

— S^ It's the ultimate package for the 
~*\ ultimate Street Fighter IV fan. 

If you don't win the big prize, 
don't despair — Mad Catz is sending along 
five FightPads for five runner-up winners. 
But if you do win...invite us over, okay? We 
wanna play at your house. 

n To enter, send your name, address, 
f telephone number, and email address to 

vr contests@officialxboxmagazine.com with 
"Ultimate Street Fighter IV Giveaway" as 
the subject line. Entries must be here by 
June 1, 2009, and all the details are in the 
itty-bitty rules below. Good luck from Mad 
Catz, Capcom, and Official Xbox Magazine 1 . 



Ultra Legal Combo Finish 




No purchase is necessary to win and as a contestant you have not yet won. One entry per person; multiple entries will be discarded. Entries must be received no later than Junei, 2009. The winners will be chosen on or about June 2, 2009, 
and will be notified by email (or regular mail). The odds of winning depend upon the number of entries received. The sponsor of the contest is Future US, Inc. ("Future US"), 4000 Shoreline Court, Suite 400, South San Francisco, CA 94080. 
Future US cannot be responsible for lost, late, misdirected, or incomplete entries. The prizes (with retail values following each) are one (1) Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Arcade FightStick: Tournament Edition ($149.99), one (1) Mad Catz Street 
Fighter IV Arcade FightStick ($79.99), ten (10) Mad Catz Street Fighter IV FightPads ($39.99 each), two (2) Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Faceplates and Skinz ($29.99 each), one (1) Mad Catz Street Fighter IV Wall Scroll ($14.99), and one (1) 
copy of Street Fighter IV Collector's Edition forXbox36o ($79.99). The prizes are nontransferable and no substitutions will be allowed. Winners will be determined by a single random drawing of all valid entries and the decision of Future US 
shall be final. You may obtain the names of the winners by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the address above. This contest is open to residents of the United States only. Entrants must be at least 16 years of age. If a winner 
is a minor, the prize will be awarded in the name of the winner's parent or legal guardian, who is solely responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes. If a winner is a minor, that winner must also provide a signed parental or 
guardian consent form, provided by the sponsor, within seven days of notification attempt. Failure of the minor to return the guardian consent form will result in forfeiture of the prize and the selection of an alternate winner, who will be 
chosen through a random drawing from the remaining eligible entries. Return of any prize or prize notification as undeliverable will result in disqualification and an alternate winner will be selected. The winners maybe required to sign an 
affidavit of eligibility/release of liability/prize acceptance within seven days of receipt; failure to do so upon request will result in forfeiture of the prize. By acceptance of the prize, the winners agree to the use of their name and/or likeness 
for purposes of advertising, trade, or promotion without further compensation, unless prohibited bylaw. Future US is not responsible for any damages or expenses that winners might incur as a result of this contest or the receipt of any 
prize. Winners are responsible for paying any income taxes on the value of the prize received. Void in Vermont, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. 



LiveSpace 

Xbox Live is full of nice people looking for a good game — folks with 
manners who are good sports and want to meet more people like 
themselves. That's where LiveSpace comes in. To count yourself among 
their ranks, send an email to letters@officiabtboxmagazine.com with 
the subject line "LiveSpace," and include the following information: 

GAMERTAG: YOURS, OF COURSE 

► Achievements: Which specific Achievements do you take the most 
pride in having earned? What made them special? 

► Wants to Play: What games do you currently own that you'd like to 
play with other people on Xbox Live? 

► Hi, My Name Is: Your first name, where you're from, and your 
hobbies — gaming-related and otherwise. Basically, tell us more 
about the gamer behind the tag. 



haloplayeri2i 

Achievements: My top Achievements 
are "Campaign Complete: Legendary" in 
Halo 3, "Master Agent" in Crackdown, and 
"Maxed Out" in Dead Space (fully upgrade 
all weapons and equipment). 
Wants to Play: Halo 3 (of course), Rock 
Band 2, Gears of War 2, and The Orange Box 

Hi, My Name Is: Austin, from Hillsboro, Missouri. My hobbies are 
playing videogames and collecting anything Ha/o-related. 



HalolHaygna I 



RAGNAROKREIGN 

Achievements: The first Achievement 
I ever earned was BioShock's "Toaster in 
the Tub" (shock an enemy in the water). It 
gave me my first 10 Gamerscore, and now 
I've passed 15,000 points. 
Wants to Play: Call of Duty 4, Frontlines: 
Fuel of War, and Too Human co-op 

Hi, My Name Is: Gavin, from Charlottesville, Virginia. I play a lot of 
FPSs, watch loads of cult-classic films, and am studying to become 
an architectural consultant. 




THEBIONICARM 

Achievements: The "Test of Faith" 
Achievement (finish game without killing 
any enemies) from Mirror's Edge is my 
fav — it was so trying on my patience! 
Getting an Elite license in Burnout 
Paradise was also very rewarding. 
Wants to Play: Burnout Paradise, Halo Wars, and Left 4 Dead 
Hi, My Name Is: Ian, from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I'm a videogame- 
store manager and a father of twins, so if you're a late-night gamer 
who wants to do some multiplayer, hit me up! 




OUTLAW6996 

Achievements: I enjoyed Fable It's 
the most: "The Teaser" (make bandits 
respond to expressions during combat) 
and "Menace to Society" (commit, or 
watch another Hero commit, an act of 
public indecency) were hilarious. I wish 
more games would include a little humor in their Achievements. 
Wants to Play: Gears of War 2, any Call of Duty, Forza 2, and UMK3 
Hi, My Name Is: Bill, from Brookfield, Connecticut. I love cars and 
videogames. If I'm not out cruising in my '01 Mustang GT, I'm on Live! 



Outlfliw$4ti# 


1 ■ 




Jm.- 


J03ID 
PlKFlAtlfHl 

on o*M in 

<3 <3 




Qxeox 



xna 

underground 



HIERONYMUSBASH 




":::::::: 


•••••••••• 



The struggle between heaven and hell is eternal. Human 
lives hang in the balance. Clearly, the only way to settle 
this is with...dodgeball. "It's super-cute, apocalyptic 
dodgeball," clarifies Bob Roberts of Kindling Games, a six- 
person dev from the Seattle area. Their recent Community Games release, 
Hieronymus Bash, asks two to four players to choose cartoony angels or 
devils, then head to the clouds to chuck human souls at each other. It's 
insanely simple to pick up, but quickly inspires that magical "just one 
more" feeling. "We knew we were on the right track when friends kicked 
our asses within a few minutes of picking up the controller," says Roberts. 

Unfortunately, there's no single-player A. I., but as Roberts asks: 
"Who wants to be the only kid on the dodgeball court? From the start, we 
wanted to create a multiplayer game that captures the social tension of 
a good game of dodgeball — vicious smack-talking and all. Without real 
people to play with, we felt like the game would lose its soul." 

Speaking of which, thou shalt not be offended by the cheeky 
religious theme of Hieronymus Bash. "We're just being ridiculous," says 
Roberts. "And please note that Satan, too, has equal opportunity to get 
beaned in the head." — Dan Amrich 




Kindling Games, from left: Sean Gubelman, Greg Raab, Andrea 
Roberts, Bob Roberts, Whitney Hills, and Kurt Loidl. 




92 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



A REMINDER: It's very important that you spell the name of the contest correctly in the subject 
line. Our email filter will ignore your entry if you goof, so double-check. We want you to win! 



HIERONYMUS WHO?: Hieronymus Bosch was a 15th-century artist whose work focused on 
religion and morality. You've probably seen The Garden of Earthly Delights. 



June 2009 / www.oxmonline.com / OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE 93 



Qxbox 




necwwo 




TOP GEAR 10 

DVD / BBC AMERICA / $30 STREET 

Rock music, comedy, castles — 

some things, the Brits just do 

better. Add the brilliant Top 

Gear to the list. Ostensibly, it's 

a BBC show where three guys 

review Ferraris, Koenigseggs, 

and other supercars you'll 

never own. But those 

segments — despite the 

utterly gorgeous and 

inventive cinematography — 

take a back seat to the 

friendly rivalry between 

the three very human and 

charismatic hosts. The 

show's producers regularly 

set them up in "challenges," 

such as Season 10's hilarious build-your-own-amphibious-car 

competition, a car/bike/boat/public-transit race through London 

rush-hour traffic, or an off-road adventure in Africa in cheap cars that 

were in no way designed for off-road travel. The result is an auto show 

refreshingly light on gearhead mumbo-jumbo but full of infectious 

enthusiasm and humor. Besides, any show where they race a Bugatti 

Veyron against a jet fighter and show a compact car so small you can 

drive it through the BBC's offices — back to back in the same episode — 

deserves everyone's attention. 

— Dan Amrich 



FANBOYS 




DVD / GENIUS PRODUCTS / $20 STREET 



What's so funny about Star Wars 1 . Fanboys suggests the answer 
is people who take it too seriously — and then embrace their own 
obsession. It's a road movie made by and for the Jedi faithful: In 1998, 
four pals from Ohio drive to California to break into Skywalker Ranch 
and see Episode I before it hits theaters...because their terminally ill pal 
won't live to see it any other way. It sounds morbid, but the film conveys 

a lot of heart with a minimal 



FAHBOYS 

0N the oiuaYf «*f i,Ttrr ^™ 




amount of sappiness. Dan Fogler 
steals every scene (by channeling 
both Han and Chewie) as the 
Rush-loving Hutch, and Kristin 
Bell puts on her best Leia as the 
take-no-guff token girl. The cross- 
country trip includes some killer 
cameos (watch forSeth Rogen in 
two roles, as well as an utterly 
priceless appearance by Carrie 
Fisher), but the real stars are 
all the deep in-jokes. You'll get 
more of them than you'll want 
to admit, but that's okay — 
Fanboys is giggling proof 
that Star Wars surrounds us, 
permeates us, and binds the 
nerd galaxy together. 

— Dan Amrich 



Hard Stuff 



Track Scan Vibras Five.One 

SMALL PACKAGE, BIG POWER 

$200, www.track-scan.com 



M 


V 


E 


RSU 





How many speakers can modern technology squeeze into 
one pair of headphones? Track Scan is attempting to set 
some sort of record with five in each ear. Sound crazy? No — 
I sounds awesome. 
When we heard about the 10 speakers inside the Five.One, we expected 
power and clarity, and we got it. Everything sounded near perfect: from the 
booming bass to the glorious treble, we could hear everything and everyone. 
The attachable microphone, while a bit on the short side, picks up your voice 
splendidly, if a bit too loudly, as our teammates in Left 4 Dead were quick 
to tell us. 

And even with all the power packed into them, the headphones never 
felt too heavy — though the thin foam earpads left something to be desired. 
With a little adjustment, we eventually got them to a place where they were 
comfortable, but they never quite felt natural. 

Our biggest beef with the Five.One is, without a doubt, the price. For 
$200, we'd like significantly fewer wires. Like, for example, none. And with 
some of those wires supplying AC power, why do we need a pair of AAA 
batteries to operate the microphone? 

In the end, if you prize sound quality over everything else, you can't do 
much better than the Vibras Five.One. Just know that you'll be sacrificing 
some comfort and paying a premium for the messy wires. 

— Taylor Cocke 



■ * 



:- i Lta 

■l I 


■L * mm 




^ -mmm^m- ,^L_ .t— J.*J 



WEDNESDAY, MAY 6 - Peggie Deluxe 



owr"* 



Once a month 
we set aside the 
mountains of 
work and pickup 
our controllers 
just for fun, and 
guess what? 
You're invited! 
Look for 

Francesca OXM, 
Corey OXM, 
Paul OXM, 
Ryan OXM, 
Dan OXM, 
Juliann OXM, 
and Intern OXM 
on Xbox Live at 
7 p.m. Eastern/ 
4 p.m. Pacific on 
the dates listed 
and be ready 
to play these 
games! 



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10 - Uno Rush 




THE VERDICT 


ffj 


FOR XBOX 360 


+ Incredibly amazing sound 

quality. 
+ Surprisingly light for the 

amount of power involved. 
~ Huge, hump-busting price for 

a wired headset. 
? Why do we need batteries for 

the microphone? 


7.0 






The OXM Report 
on Inside Xbox 




'■ftvyM?** 



frrnni7tj*MJ 5 ' 




Check the Inside 

Xbox channel 

on the Xbox 

360 Dashboard 

for The OXM 

Report! Every 

other Sunday, 

we bring you the 

video scoop on the biggest games and names in Xbox. Recent segments 

included early looks at Wolfenstein, Fight Night Round 4, and an 

interview with our old friend Peter Moore. The OXM Report is hosted by 

the OXM editors themselves...but watch them anyway! They're free! 



94 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



BOLDLY GO: Fanboys really sticks it to Star Trek fans, but we also recommend the 1999 
film Trekkies. It's a documentary and therefore a bit frightening. 




ixeox 



THE FOCUS OF XBOX 




James Silva is the creator of the kung-fu- 
and-menial-work-inspired XBLA game The 
Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. He is currently the 
sole employee of upstate New York-based Ska 
Studios, where he has proudly given himself 
the title of Lead Dishwasher. 



DIARY OF A DEAD SAMURAI 

The developer of The Dishwasher comes clean on his five-year struggle By James siiva 




Think of this screen as an 
analogy of Silva versus the 
beast his dream became. 




Silva admits that the first 
thing he built in XNA Game 
Studio was a blood fountain. 



Five years ago, I was a dishwasher 
at a fakey-ltalian restaurant called 
Mangia Cafe, (which, as far as I 
know, translates literally to "[He/ 
She] Eats Cafe"), and through angst, boredom, 
and the proper amount of respect for all things 
Bruce Lee, The Dishwasher was born. 

Three years, four visions, and three coding 
iterations later, The Dishwasher made its way 
onto Xbox 360 through the then-just-released 
XNA Game Studio, eventually shocking the heck 
out of me by winningthe 2007 Dream-Build-Play 
competition and, in the process, a spot on Xbox 
Live Arcade. 

Two more years, five milestones, 50 builds, 
and 500 bug fixes later, and The Dishwasher is 
good to go. It's been a long, crazy five-year ride, 
and as the sole developer, I've felt like I've been 
inches from insanity, despair, and destruction 
many, many times. But I made it! 

The Dishwasher is an XNA Game Studio game, 
but 99 percent of XBLA games are not. To bridge 
the gap, Microsoft put together a little piece of 
software that allowed me to develop for Xbox 
Live Arcade, meaning I could implement things 
like Leaderboards and Achievements, and could 
develop on a proper dev kit. Of course, nothing 
is ever perfect, but by working directly with 
the Microsoft team, I was able to work through 
whatever problems came about and I ended up 
with a product that I'm really proud of. 

I'm the sole developer of The Dishwasher, 
but I was not without support. I have a few Xbox 
Live Arcade guys at Microsoft who managed 
testing, milestones, localization, and all that 
good stuff. However, I am still a lone developer in 
pajamas, doing all the coding, art, and sound at 
a desk in my bedroom. Usually I have a cat on my 
lap. Conference calls are foreign to me. I had to 



learn a new lingo. I'm not sure what most of the 
acronyms we use stand for. 

Relatively speaking, not much went wrong. 
We did slip about six months past our original 
(overambitious) goal and I did upload a few 
builds where some innocuous bug fix resulted 
in what we call an Epic Massive Fail. Because I 
was learning as I went, we ran into some weird, 
extremely rare bugs. For example, once I broke 
the entire saving system — embarrassing. 
Anothertime, The Dishwasher was rendered as 
a head with feet, but that might actually be a 
good direction to take the game in the future. 
Sometimes we got clever, and sometimes it made 
us crazy, but eventually we got through it! 



I THINK WE MADE 
HISTORY. I MEAN, 
WHAT ARE THE ODDS? 



I attribute what went right to all sorts of 
cat-like agility. I had to get creative 
about making the game work in seven 
languages. I had to not only implement 
networking, but figure out how to write 
netcode, too! On Microsoft's side, they had 
to adapt to their own challenges in getting XNA 
Game Studio and Xbox Live Arcade to play nice 
together. They also had to adapt to the limitations 
of, ahem, me. I'll be the first to say it: I'm not 
a great programmer. But that's something we 
learned to work with. 

I also have to credit XNA Game Studio 
as the Epic Massive Win. Netcode is always 
a bit of a hassle, but the XNA framework 
cut out tons of the legwork. Likewise, it took 
just a few days to implement Achievements and 



Leaderboards. And let's not forget that I made 
the original Dream-Build-Play version of The 
Dishwasher'm something like four or five months. 
XNAGS streamlined development, cut the tedium, 
and generally helped make the whole experience 
more fun. I still can't get over the cool factor of 
deploying a game on Xbox 360. It's braggable. 
I had a blast working on The Dishwasher. I 
think we made history. I mean, what are the 
odds? Can a basement programmer with zero 
professional game-development experience, no 
money, and no social skills work with Microsoft to 
publish on Xbox Live Arcade a game about, of all 
things, a homicidal dishwasher! I'm stunned the 
answer was yes. 




96 OFFICIAL XBOX MAGAZINE / www.oxmonline.com / June 2009 



MORE SILVA STUFF: James has also released the shooter ZP2K9 as a Community Game for 
just 200 MS Points ($2.50). Next up: a "super-dumb street brawler" called Charlie Murder.